OUR PROGRAMS

OUR PROGRAMS

EMPOWERING YOUTH, HONORING SENIORS, AND BUILDING COMMUNITY

Sages & Seekers offers intergenerational collaboration between older adults (60+), the Sages, and students (15-24), the Seekers.  During our programs, the exchange between the Sage and the Seeker offers the Sage an opportunity to share life experiences with an interested listener, engaging them in both life review and generativity. The Seeker is challenged to develop listening, interviewing, writing and public speaking skills, resulting in the development of empathy and a sense of purpose. Our curriculum fosters open communication and creates forums in which to discuss life and discover commonalities between generations. This shattering of stereotypes helps to diminish ageism.

Watch this video about our program: 

ONLINE PROGRAMS

Our online programs were born out of the need for connection during the pandemic, and have become an exciting platform to connect generations across the country and throughout the world. 


8-Week Zoom Program

Our 8-Week Zoom Program is designed to offer our award-winning signature program online.  This is a 60-minute program, with 45 minutes of one-one-one time.  The Seekers choose their Sage partner through a “speed dating” rotation process in the first week.  Each week starts with group discussion, creating a sense of community by the eighth week.  Because each week builds on the week before, you must commit to all eight weeks. 

Enroll now for this program!


Sage Salons

Our Salons were born out of the desire for Sages to continue to meet following their participation in our 8-Week Program. The Salons offer the opportunity to stay connected with other older adults who are interested in continuing to engage in meaningful conversation. 


Cross-Generational Problem Solving

New in 2022/2023!

Cognitive diversity is key to solving global crises. Younger minds tend to be quicker and more focused, while the older brain tends to be more methodical and holistic. Sages & Seekers is poised to bring generations together to start the process of problem-solving through authentic conversation and connection.

This 10-12 week, college level program reflects the mission of Sages & Seekers as it focuses on sharing the unique experiences of both generations through storytelling. As the students and older adults address each “issue/problem” together, they will focus on the human behavior we all share in order to design a plan of action that will motivate and inspire all of us to make a modest change in our own behavior, contributing to an achievable and significant outcome.

 

IN-PERSON PROGRAMS

This opportunity to communicate one-to-one with an interested partner breaks down stereotypes and judgements, leading to the development of much needed social-emotional skills and a diminishing of ageism.


8-Week Signature Program

Our award-winning 8-Week Signature Program, designed for high schools and universities, fits perfectly into a school semester. This program is utilized in schools across the country as part of their academic curriculum, as well as a community service opportunity.

This is a 75-minute program, with group interaction as well as one-on-one time. Each week starts with group discussion, engaging both generations in dialogue that leads to authentic conversation. The Seekers choose their Sage partner through a “speed dating” rotation process the second week.  During the remaining weeks, each Sage & Seeker pair engages in meaningful conversations about their lives.  The impact of this exchange culminates in a tribute written by the Seeker, then read to the Sage.

In-person programs are currently being offered in the Los Angeles area.  Please contact Rachel Shader, Program Director, at rachel@sagesandseekers.org if you are interested in attending a program in-person.  If you are interested in hosting an in-person program in your city outside of the LA area, licensing our manual will guide you through setting up a Sages & Seekers program step-by-step.


Pop-Up Workshop

This is a custom program designed as either a 2-Hour or 2-Day Workshop for facilities interested in introducing our 8-Week Signature Program. For 2-Hour Pop-Ups, participants engage in a similar format as our 8-week program but in a condensed time.  The group participates in ice breakers, each student is paired with a senior for 45-60 minutes, and finally the Seeker reads a note to their Sage in front of the group. Watch this video of a POP-UP PROGRAM in action. 


Anti-Ageism Workshop

This is a custom program for facilities working with multiple generations. This workshop is designed to shatter stereotypes and focus on the similarities of all participants, through authentic conversation.

LICENSING OUR PROGRAM

Our 8-week Program Manual & Training is available to license for your community use.  A one-time fee allows you to produce our evidence-based SEL program as many times as needed for years to come. Our detailed manual takes you step-by-step from recruiting the participants, facilitating the 8-week program, and managing any dropout or enrollment problems.  When purchasing our manual, you also receive several hours of free consultations with Sages & Seekers staff. If you are interested in licensing our manual, please contact Elly Katz, Executive Director, at ekatz@sagesandseekers.org

We have licensed our 8-week program to schools, universities, senior facilities, and libraries across the country, including: 
 
Senior Facilities
ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center
Connections Volunteer Center
Duxbury Council on Aging
Windy Hill Senior Center
Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Vanderbilt University OLLI
University of Dayton OLLI
Cal State University San Bernardino OLLI
 
Schools
The Rivers School
International School of Boston
Keefe Technical School
R.W. Traip Academy High School 
Natick High School
Wayland High School
Lake Champlain Waldorf School
Connecticut College
 

Libraries 

Marshall Library
Denver Library

FOR SENIOR FACILITIES

Both teens and older adults are searching for meaning and relevance in life and facing issues around independence and self-determination. These two generations are also confronting social isolation and loneliness, a mental health crisis that has grown significantly during the pandemic. Social isolation, loneliness and ageism are not just mental health issues but also physical ones. According to a meta-analysis, a lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Internalized ageism is linked with depression, a higher risk for cognitive impairment, and it costs approximately $63 billion annually in healthcare expenditures.* Intergenerational programming, like Sages & Seekers, provides students and seniors an alternative to isolation: a sense of purpose and a connection to the larger picture of society and the world.

Why bring Sages & Seekers to your community?

Sages & Seekers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, addresses the social isolation and ageism your community members are experiencing.  Our programs are unique as we offer both community and one-on-one connection. Seniors in our program:
  • Forge meaningful relationships with youth and other seniors
  • Regain a sense of purpose, self-worth and relevance
  • Transfer knowledge, skills and values to the next generation
  • Improve cognitive abilities
  • Enhance self-esteem by sharing life experiences

Sages & Seekers has partnered with numerous organizations and facilities servicing seniors, including senior centers, lifelong learning programs, libraries, and senior villages. We can help you bring Sages & Seekers to your community members, in-person at your facility, partnering with a nearby school or online.

Our participants share their experience and feelings about the impact of our programs and the resulting benefits of authentic conversation with another generation.

PARTICIPANTS SPEAK

*Generations United “Making the Case for Intergen. Programs”- Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Chang, E. S., Kannoth, S., & Wang, S.Y. (2020).  Ageism amplifies cost & prevalence of health conditions. The Gerontologist, 60(1), 174-181. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny131

** Generations United and The Eisner Foundation (2018). All in together: Creating places where young and old thrive.

FAQ

Sages & Seekers Programs are designed specifically to address the teen brain and development. This is best described by Dr. David Yeager: “Typical SEL programs, which directly teach adolescents skills and invite them to rehearse those skills over the course of many classroom lessons, have a very poor track record with middle adolescents—roughly age 14 to 17. Programs for adolescents are sometimes simply aged-up versions of childhood programs— for instance, they communicate the same message, but now the character doing the talking has a skateboard and a chain wallet. Such programs often fail to capture adolescents’ attention, both in what they say and how they say it. The evidence is clear: we can’t rely on an elementary-level, classroom- based, social-skill-training program revamped for middle adolescents.” David S. Yeager, “Social-Emotional Learning Programs for Adolescents.”

Our award-winning evidence-based program has been studied twice by University of Southern California professor Dr. Mary Helen Immordino Yang. The first study was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2017. The second study in 2019, was funded by the Templeton Foundation. Quantitative findings showed increases in:

  • purpose-in-life
  • interest in civic engagement
  • social-emotional skills
  • reflection on core values
  • higher well-being

Participants also reported feeling more grateful and hopeful after the intervention.

Dr. Immordino Yang talks about the importance of designing SEL programs specifically for teens as well as the effectiveness of Sages & Seekers here

Sages & Seekers programs are designed to fit easily into a school semester, which is why they are 8 weeks long. Many schools utilize our programs in their academic curriculum, integrating it into an English, History or Humanities class. Other high schools have offered Sages & Seekers as part of an after-school program or club.  We offer 10 hours of community service credit to students who enroll and complete all aspects of the 8-week program.

If your school is based in the Los Angeles area, we may be able to conduct an in-person program at your school location.   Our staff will work with you to help organize the program and provide a facilitator for all class sessions.  If you are based outside of the Los Angeles area, you can purchase our training manual, which gives you step-by-step instructions for setting up a Sages & Seekers program at your school. 

The Sages and Seekers get to know one another during the first two weeks of our program.  During the first week, the full group participates in ice breakers and discussions.  The second week, Sages and Seekers participate in a “speed dating” activity.   Every Seeker has the opportunity to meet 1:1 with every Sage.  After that session, the Seekers chooses the Sage for the rest of the program.  

Every Jack has his Jill!  Yes, this is a phrase that often applies to romantic relationships, but the same theory applies to the matching process in our program—there is someone for everyone.  With a diverse group of participants, there is always a Seeker who chooses a Sage. Some of our most successful pairings have been the most unpredictable at the start of the program!

Enrolling in one of our 8 week programs requires that you commit to being present for all the weekly meetings because you will be paired one-on-one with someone from another generation. If you are absent, they have no partner!  That said, if you only have to miss one week and you communicate that absence in advance to your partner and the Sages & Seekers staff, we may be able to find a mutually agreed upon time when you can make up that session with your partner.  For example, if you will be absent during your scheduled Monday zoom session and you & your partner are available on Wednesday that week, you can attend one of the Wednesday Zooms for just that week.

Sages & Seekers was started with the intention to get Seekers off their devices and learn to make an authentic connection with another person in real life, face-to-face.   That said, the pandemic has taught all of us that while in-person connections are the most beneficial, we can still develop meaningful relationships with people online IF the appropriate environment is created. Sages & Seekers ran over 60 Zoom programs during the pandemic, so we have learned how to successfully implement our program online.  We witnessed so many close relationships develop between Sages and Seekers, and a sense of community was still felt by our Zoom participants.  We also discovered the benefit of holding online programs is we can connect people from all over the world.

Sages & Seekers will resume in-person programs in Fall 2022.  We realize that Covid is unpredictable and a new wave could occur at any time.   Since half of our participants are in the high risk category given their ages, we are very sensitive to bringing together a group when the spread of Covid could be a factor. We are monitoring Covid at the state, city and school level so we can assess if an in-person program should be moved online.   We have structured our program so that an in-person program can pivot online at any point in time if necessary.

“Conversation is the most human activity we do.
It is a cornerstone for empathy.”