Sages & Seekers strives to combat social isolation and dissolve age-related segregation within our communities, while meeting the universal and compelling need of both young adults and elders to make sense of their lives. This is achieved by the simple art of conversation, during which the participants develop empathy for each other. Diminished ageism is a very obvious outcome of our programming, along with outcomes of 2 studies done by the University of Southern California finding participants experienced: 1) a greater sense of purpose; 2) improved cognitive skills; 3) reflection on core values. After over 10 years of programming across the country, we have connected thousands of teens and elders to share their unique experiences of success and failure, joy and grief and other human emotions that offer connection despite age.

What are you most excited about regarding your organization’s programing this year?  How will it shape your community or organization or both?
Due to the quarantine in 2020, Sages & Seekers moved its programs online, offering an opportunity for connection without masks. In 2022, we will continue to offer our Zoom programs, along with in-person programs in the Fall. Our Zoom programs allow us to connect participants from all over the world, making our programs multi-cultural as well as intergenerational. Our in-person programs help local communities build stronger networks between neighbors and facilities, bringing people closer to strengthen the community as a whole. I personally feel “community” is threatened by our use of technology, and am committed to bringing a stronger, more authentic connection to humanity, starting on the community level.

What is one special aspect, element, or hidden ‘talent’ that you want our members to know about your organization?
Because Sages & Seekers Programs have both a community element as well as one-on-one connection, we offer students the opportunity to experience meeting and communicating with more than one older adult. This sets the stage for diminishing ageism. Our one-on-one connection allows our teens to experience a deep dive into the aging process, developing respect, empathy and an authentic relationship with an older adult. Many Sages and well as Seekers express their surprise in how deep their conversations were with each other, as opposed to grandparents with grandchildren or other family members. Both generations experience conversations of meaning and depth beyond the usual.

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