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. (links to pdf 204A)

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.

“Neuroscience is revealing how brain development is shaped by social relationships. Adolescence is a critical period of socially-facilitated brain development and learning, as well as an emotionally vulnerable period for many youths. Though supporting social- emotional learning (SEL) in elementary schools is relatively straightforward, it has proven much more difficult to create effective interventions for adolescents, who are struggling to invent their desired adult selves. Programs that help young people to figure out who they are, what matters to them, and why, such as Sages and Seekers, can provide incredibly powerful learning experiences to adolescents. The activities inspire genuine reflection and growth because they happen via structured, supportive, and very special friendships with an elder.”
~ Dr. Mary Helen Immordino Yang, Principal Investigator

National Endowment for the Arts

Results of this one-year study showed that Sages & Seekers intergenerational storytelling intervention increased adolescents’ reported sense of social connectedness, psychological wellbeing, and purpose-in- life, and especially so for participants with the lowest initial levels. Moreover, adolescents’ changing abilities to conceptualize their future goals in terms of ethical and relational values, instead of hedonistic or pragmatic motives, mediated the increases in reported purpose-in-life. Older adult participants showed increased generativity and working memory performance.

USC Study Results

 Templeton Foundation

The overarching empirical aims of this project were to investigate the developmental trajectories of youths’ meaning-making across the intervention, and to probe the effects of meaning-making on changes in virtues, purpose, spirituality, civic participation and stress regulation. Participants reported self-transcendent purpose scores, wisdom scores, hope and gratitude scores increased from pre- to post- intervention.

For more information contact our Executive Director, Elly Katz: ekatz@sagesandseekers.org