« Back
09.29.22 | Sage Advice

Travel the World From The Comfort of Your Home

Traveling is one of the best ways to experience new cultures and hear from other walks of life. However, because of the global pandemic, many of us haven’t had the opportunity to continue checking off bucket list locations in a few years. And although there’s nothing like stepping into a new place, new travel-like opportunities are beginning to emerge, including armchair travel.

What is Armchair Travel?

Have you ever wanted to visit a different country from the comfort of your home? Well, now you can! Armchair travel provides a sensory experience to those looking to learn about a location without going through the hassle of actually traveling. The virtual activity invokes everything from local sights and smells to mindsets and cultural conventions. 

We’ve had the pleasure of embracing the value behind armchair traveling in our Vibrant Learning Program at Chicago Commons. With the help of DeShunn Bray, our Manager of Programming and Community Engagement, participants in our Vibrant Learning Program have had the opportunity to experience everything from an African safari to a trip to Germany and Columbia. 

Participants of our Vibrant Learning Program at Chicago Commons participating in armchair travel

How to Participate 

Becoming an armchair traveler is easier than it sounds, thanks to the do-it-yourself element of the activity. Start by considering if you’d rather travel alone or gather a group of family or friends to accompany you on your journey; traveling with a group tends to spark more engaging conversations and perspectives after the activity. 

Once you’ve decided who you’re traveling with, make a list of general themes and ideas for your travels. These can include everything, from national parks and landmarks to the location of famous events or your favorite movie. Once you’ve created your list, search for resources to assist you in your travels. If you’re tech-savvy, head to YouTube or take a stroll to your local library to find even more free films and videos. Once you’ve found a video accompaniment, pair your trip with a craft activity and serve a local delicacy to complete the experience! 

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your armchair trip now!

› Back to top
« Back
09.22.22 | Sage Advice

Community Service Spotlight: Election Working

For the past few years, Americans have had to navigate a variety of hardships, affecting the everyday lives of nearly everyone. Because of this, the importance of political engagement has been expressed more than ever before. We’ve previously discussed the significance of engaging in politics and using your voice to stay engaged, but those actions wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for poll workers. Often forgotten, election workers are the soul of America’s electoral system and crucial to voters looking to exercise their rights on election day. 

On election day, voting locations across the country become filled with life, but it takes more than just a morning to organize and set up the polls. For weeks before the election takes place, poll workers are trained and guided in the critical roles they take up during election days. 

From the firm election rules to common – and uncommon – situations they may encounter while working, election workers become experts on how to successfully maneuver the tribulations of election day. What many don’t realize is the time and energy poll workers pour into the work. Typically all-day affairs, poll workers commit more than just a few hours at the booths. 

And while the endeavor can be tiring, election working is extremely rewarding, especially for those looking to spend more time engaging with their community. Luckily the process of signing up to become a poll worker is easy! First, ensure you’re a registered voter in your state. Requirements differ in each state, so check with your local election office before signing up. 

Now more than ever before polling locations across the country are looking for poll workers passionate about protecting the democratic process. So, what’re you waiting for; apply to be an election worker to help your community before the next election!

› Back to top
« Back
09.15.22 | Sage Advice

The Season for Slowing Down

With fall ending and autumn right around the corner, it’s time to wave warm weather and long days goodbye and welcome the vibrant colors and brisk breezes that come with the new season. You might also be experiencing shifts in your own life too, which is why it’s critical to continue filling your days with activities that enrich both your body and your soul. Today, we’re sharing how you can ensure vibrant living this fall: 

Get Outside

There’s no better place to be than outside in the fall. Encourage yourself to embrace the outdoors this season by utilizing community paths and trails or taking a trip to an apple orchard or park. Another great way to get outdoors is by planning a hiking trip or a road trip to witness the colors that come with the autumn season. While you’re outdoors, indulge in an awe-walk or a podcast.

Choose In-Season Cuisine 

With fall comes some of the tastiest seasonal produce with fruits like apples, pears and pumpkins and vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash. Visit your local farmers market or store to pick up the fresh produce and cook away! Some of our favorite fall recipes include pumpkin oatmeal, chicken and white bean soup and adobe chicken and kale enchiladas

Slow Down

If summer left you scattered or feeling like you had no time to yourself, fall is the perfect time to slow down and do more for your wellbeing. Incorporate more mindful moments throughout your day and make it a point to spend more time on yourself. Yoga and meditation are both great activities for grounding and reflection, and in the fall, you can do both outsides!

Fall is the season for slowing down. Embrace the cool weather, make the most of the season by cooking up season recipes and ground your mind, body and soul. 

› Back to top
« Back
09.08.22 | Sage Advice

Breakfast is Still the Most Important Meal of the Day

Yes, that old saying you’ve heard your whole life is correct: breakfast is still the most important meal of the day! Whether you’re an everyday breakfast eater or unfamiliar with the practice, September is the perfect month to pick up the habit and learn more about the importance of the meal during Better Breakfast Month. 

Besides filling your body with healthy nutrients, vitamins and other energy-rich minerals, studies have found that eating breakfast regularly comes with many benefits you would otherwise not have access to if you skipped the meal. One key benefit is the jumpstart of the body’s metabolism, encouraging it to burn calories throughout the day. While starting your morning off with a meal informs the body that there are calories to be burnt throughout the day, skipping the meal tells your body to conserve them. 

And while we all love bacon and eggs or syrup-layered pancakes, there are countless other nutrient-forward recipes you can incorporate into your morning diet to reap the most of the meal’s benefits. Yogurt parfaits and smoothies are a perfect way to fill up on fresh fruit and protein in the morning, and homemade energy bars make for powerful boosts on the go. However, there are still ways to bring added health to favorite meals; make your waffles using a whole-grain mixture or pair your eggs with a slice of toast and mashed avocado.

It makes sense; by filling your body with healthy foods first thing in the morning, you’re less inclined to reach for your favorite, less-healthy snacks later throughout the day! To learn more about Better Breakfast Month and discover recipes you can make on your own, visit here.

› Back to top
« Back
09.01.22 | Sage Advice

The Significance of Healthy Snacking

Many people grow up being told that eating snacks throughout the day isn’t the best way to fill hunger, but that isn’t necessarily true. Practicing healthy eating habits, like those we encourage through Sage Collective’s 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, certainly plays a significant role in the body’s health and wellbeing, but so does snacking. Discover the significance of healthy snacking and a few of the many benefits it provides below:

When snacking, it’s important to remember to stick to the same guidelines you apply to other foods and choose fresh, natural and plant-based foods. After discovering which foods to add to your snacking list, adding them to your daily diet produces countless lifestyle benefits. Here are just a couple: 

Fuels Movement

Sometimes all you need is a boost of energy to get you through the rest of the day when you’re feeling tired, and a snack is the perfect solution! When you’re not hungry enough for a full meal but need to pick me up, having something to snack on by your side is a great way to fuel you through the rest of the day. However, avoid foods normally associated with refueling, like soda. Instead, choose nutrient-rich snacks like a healthy trail mix or energy bar. 

Prevents Overeating

It’s easy to get hungry in between meals, and when you don’t have a snack, it’s even easier to overeat. Having food to snack on between mealtimes is essential to prevent overeating. Grab a fruit full of healthy carbs like a banana or a protein-packed snack like nuts or yogurt. Not only will this reduce the amount of time between meals – in turn reducing hunger – but it also provides your body with a variety of nutrients it might have required or craving throughout the day. 

Improves Focus

Another great benefit of snacking on your favorite foods throughout the day is the impressive ability to help improve concentration. When blood sugar drops and metabolism slows, the body becomes cranky, tired and distracted from the present. Thankfully, you can easily prevent a poor mood and sluggish productivity by adding snacks to your daily regimen!

Next time you feel bad about grabbing a midday snack, don’t! The right snacks can fuel you through the day, improve your focus and empower your body to stay healthy for the long haul.

› Back to top
« Back
08.25.22 | Sage Advice

Introducing Our Newest Team Member, DeShunn Bray

With an impressive passion for forming rich connections with others and making significant impact on the communities in which she interacts, DeShunn Bray has always been a catalyst in her field. From working as the former site manager at Willa Rawls Manor to various security and programming roles, her extensive experience and radiating energy made her the perfect candidate to lead our Vibrant Learning Program at Chicago Commons. We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce DeShunn as the newest addition to the Sage Collective team. Get to know DeShunn in her introduction below: 

Can you talk a little bit about your professional background and how it has made you an expert in your field?

I have over 20 years of experience working with seniors and managing senior properties. I’m also a certified manager of senior housing, so with that has come other responsibilities of managing and securing properties. Not only was I managing one-on-one meetings with clients, but I also had a chance to discover their needs. One of my key responsibilities was making sure that everyone has a healthy, clean environment that helps them live more independently. So as a result, I was also responsible for helping provide services that would enhance their living space and every aspect of their quality of life.

What is your role with Sage Collective and our pilot program at Chicago Commons?

My title is Manager of Programming and Community Engagement. So when I walk into an assisted living program, or any program that deals with housing or providing a service with senior citizens, I make sure I come in with my “arsenal” — some excellent references and connections to vibrant living. I ensure that Sage Collective has the resources to carry out the different programs that we provide, including putting together an outline to touch on themes such as health, wellness, culture and arts. 

By tapping into that good vibe that we possess at Sage Collective, I also help our participants believe that life hasn’t ended and that every day is a great day. So when our participants’ family and friends see them thriving, it’s a way for them to say, “This is what I still like to do. I’m just a little older, but I am still the same person.’’ Through the programing, participants gain the ability to say with assurance what they need and I’m elated to provide them with that type of confidence and language they need to be able to communicate better with everyone. 

You’re also doing grassroots outreach throughout the community. How meaningful is this type of outreach for organizations like Sage Collective?

Well, you can talk about it, but our thing is to be about it. We have to go out in the field and connect with people on their level, sit down, have a conversation with them, have a conversation with the community, and say, “This is what we need in our community.” So connecting with the public, the Aldermen, builders, and even larger corporations allows Sage Collective to advance our service to others that may be in real need of tackling isolation and depression. If we come in and show them the type of programming we’re doing, we could get funding. And so connecting with different organizations and bringing those resources to the community, where there are underserved seniors or disabled communities is key to what we should and will be doing.

It’s very fulfilling work to walk out of the door and have a purpose. And that’s one of the things that we at Sage Collective make sure people understand — that they do have a purpose in life —  and it should extend beyond what the nation is saying or thinking.

Speaking of purpose and along the lines of Sage Collectives beliefs and values, what unique values held by Sage Collective drew you to work for them?

The fact that Sage Collective has implemented a new way of thinking. Humans have to constantly think differently to allow themselves to change. I can go to YouTube now, and I can download two-minute workouts, 15-minute workouts, and 20-minute workouts and Sage Collective helps put those resources out there so that seniors can know that they don’t always have to tap into their budget and do something expensive to improve their health. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a part of an organization that’s not trying to buy them, not trying to make them spend a whole lot of money to improve their lifestyle, to improve their health, to help connect them with others?

What are you most looking forward to most as a new member of Sage Collective’s team? What do you hope to accomplish in your time ahead?

Making change leaves a legacy. So it’s a great feeling coming on board with a team that shares the same beliefs that I have and takes them to the next level. Even though I am living with the purpose of securing myself and others, I’m also changing the way people look at their futures. And there’s not a lot of people preaching that or teaching that. And I love the concept of being that person that can walk through the door and make you smile and laugh. 

One woman in the Vibrant Living Program made me smile last week when she told me that I had brought out a feeling she had been missing because she was listening to blues music and remembering their younger years. So I think knowing that somebody cares, and then incorporating their feelings into the next lesson, into the next program, into the next adventure, who doesn’t want to be a part of that? So I see myself being that person, taking the time to understand my clients, and then being right there on the level with them. And as far as Sage Collective, as long as they’re in business, I want to be there.

› Back to top
« Back
08.18.22 | Sage Advice

The Enigma of Heirloom Foods

Like everything, foods evolve with time, changing in flavor, color and even shape. And yes, while we’re cautious to eat any of those weird looking foods, they’re often filled with a plethora of flavor and nutrients. Today, we’re exploring heirloom foods and why you shouldn’t let their appearance hold you back from trying them.

What are heirloom foods?

Have you ever noticed that weird-shaped carrot or the odd-colored tomato at your grocery store? Those are heirloom foods! Like all other aspects of life, as time passes, agricultural products and systems change, progressing the popularity of some foods and lessening the use of others. This leads to the emergence of heirloom foods – foods that may have been commonly eaten throughout previous generations but are less so today. 

Why you should add them to your diet

Heirlooms don’t only come with unique looks, but they also provide many nutritious benefits other foods don’t have. The genetics within the plants also typically provide them with pest, disease and weather resistance. 

Whether you’re snacking on an heirloom vegetable, fruit, or egg, each food is also sure to be filled with flavors you haven’t experienced before. The taste is what draws many to the established foods. Beyond their flavor, buying heirloom foods is also a great way to support local farms in your area that may grow them instead of buying usual produce from large-scale farms. 

Don’t hesitate to grab those colorful potatoes or weirdly shaped tomatoes next time you spot them out, you could be missing out on a flavor-filled heirloom treat!

› Back to top
« Back
08.11.22 | Sage Advice

National Black Business Month

At Sage Collective, we embrace the powerful idea of collective impact and empowering those around us to achieve a more just and equitable future for everyone in our community. One aspect of this includes supporting the local businesses throughout the year, especially now, during National Black Business Month in August!

Created in 2004 by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr., National Black Business Month was organized to celebrate the more than two million Black-owned businesses throughout the country. Throughout the United States, countless Black-owned businesses are essential pillars of their community and Black Business Month provides the perfect opportunity for local consumers to exhibit support. 

There are countless ways you can support your local Black-owned business; from simple tasks like leaving a positive review to discovering how you can advocate for them beyond their product. What matters most, however, is mindset and intent. 

Small businesses have always been economic drivers behind local economies, and supporting your local Black-owned business can leave an impact beyond the business’ walls. Be intentional about your support throughout the entire year; refer friends, share on social media, forge relationships with the owner or discover how you can uplift them further. 

We encourage you to support the Black businesses throughout your community no matter where you are throughout the month! To discover more Chicago Black-owned businesses head here.

› Back to top
« Back
08.04.22 | Sage Advice

How Sacred Spaces Can Directly Affect Community Wellbeing

As part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, we support and encourage participation in spiritual and religious experiences for followers of all faiths at Sage Collective. Not only does spiritual engagement help with purpose and act as a hub for the community, but the spaces in which those engagements take place can also leave great impacts on our wellbeing. Take a closer look at just how sacred spaces can leave a direct impact on you: 

Research has always supported the fact that spiritual engagement or religious activities lead to better health – some claiming it leads to longer lives. However, more and more research is now pointing to the impact physical spaces that are home to religious activity have on the people that engage in them. 

Partners for Sacred Places, a Philadelphia non-profit, partnered with the University of Pennsylvania over the last decade to discover the economic and public impact places of worship have on their larger community in Philadelphia – labeling it the Halo-Effect. 

They found that through educational opportunities, catalytic impact, and direct spending, congregations in Philadelphia were extremely beneficial to their communities – contributing an average of more than $4,000,000 in economic value. Further, the study also found that nearly 80% of people who visit sacred spaces – and weren’t already members of the space – benefit from their offerings as well.  

Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship are the perfect spaces to come together, find peace and build community. The halo-effect proves the significance for individuals who spend time in sacred spaces and the benefit to the larger community. 

Read more about the halo-effect and other studies on the impact behind sacred spaces here

› Back to top
« Back
07.28.22 | Sage Advice

How to Combat Senioritis As An Adult

It’s not just teenagers who can feel senioritis adults can too. We’ve all experienced it at some point; laziness, disinterest, having no motivation, not caring about the outcomes of our life. But just because these symptoms of checking out are universally experienced doesn’t make them okay to ignore. Today, we’re investigating adult senioritis, how checking out can affect your wellbeing and tools you can use to combat it:

What Senioritis Looks Like As An Adult

You might know senioritis as the affliction many seniors in high school experience as they enter their final year when their motivation declines and their drive to succeed diminishes. Though this phenomenon isn’t just found in young adults, anyone can experience senioritis. 

Typically, senioritis begins when there is a sign of a major transformation occurring in life, like graduating high school or even starting a new job. It begins with a fear of the future and feeling like you may not have control over a situation. As we age, many of the small tasks we enjoy earlier in life become tiresome and lose value to us, which can lead to checking out. 

However, it’s important to remember that checking out looks different to every person. The key is to recognize the signs and signals once you see them and begin taking action to snap out of the senioritis. 

How You Can Combat It

After acknowledging that you may be checking out, don’t start by setting unattainable goals for yourself – start small. Give yourself a to-do list of a handful of goals to reach every day, whether that’s going to the grocery store to run errands or making sure you respond to all of your emails. 

Once you’ve given yourself a list of small goals to aim for, the next step is to pair an incentive to it! Use motivations that connect back to why you might be checking out in the first place; if you’re starting a job, go shopping for new work clothes. Whatever your incentive is, use that to help drive you to complete your goals. 

As you tackle senioritis and become an active participant in your life again, remember to take it one step at a time. It might not always feel like you’ll be able to step out of it, but you will. 

› Back to top