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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.

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03.24.22 | Sage Advice

Discover Your Inner Creative With Photography

At Sage Collective, we use the philosophy of “vibrant living”, and hope we can inspire you to do the same. There are endless activities and behaviors to introduce into your life to encourage vibrant living, but today we’re shining a spotlight on photography! Photography is not only a creative outlet, but a way to reconnect with yourself, your community, and a way to increase your mindfulness (plus so much more!). Let’s talk about it: 

Photography and Mindfulness

In 2022, we’re all looking for ways to stay more in the moment. Photography is perfect for this, as the art itself forces you to be present and aware of the things going on around you in a way that’s positive and relaxing. Focusing your attention on your surroundings with photography is a way to ground yourself and also strengthen your ability to reminisce. 

With photos, sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negative, the ones that maybe didn’t turn out how we planned. Though this can detract from our mindfulness, National Geographic explains that mindful photography can best be achieved when we change our mindset to think about the great photos that we take, rather than the ones that didn’t turn out how we wanted. 

Photography and Community

In addition to general health benefits, photography is a great way to strengthen your relationships and involvement with your community. Particularly for older adults, sharing photos with loved ones can be a great boost to your social relationships and bring you closer to your circle of people. Posting your photos online and sharing your interest promotes connection, and can be a great conversation starter! 

Additionally, it gets you involved in your community as you traverse your city to capture beautiful moments and scenes. You’ll likely even notice little details in familiar places that you’ve never noticed before, giving you a deeper appreciation and a new outlook on beloved spots.

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01.20.22 | Sage Advice

National Bills Look to Recognize Bronzeville as a National Heritage Area

At Sage Collective, Bronzeville has always held a significantly special place in our hearts and identity. And, even as we continue to expand beyond our neighborhood’s borders, one of our favorite things is to spotlight the achievements and impacts that the community leaves on Chicago and the rest of the country. Today we’re exploring our neighborhood’s latest recognition: the national bills seeking to honor Bronzeville as a National Heritage Area.

Over the past few years, Bronzeville has seen a true renaissance; welcoming new businesses, families and cultures while still showing deep respect and appreciation for its vibrant history. As one of the most thriving Black communities throughout the early 20th century, Bronzeville set itself apart as a hub for talented artists and musicians, stunning architecture, booming businesses and more. 

Introduced by US Representative Bobby Bush and Senator Dick Durban, the bills intend to identify a new national heritage site within Bronzeville because of its rich contribution to the country’s culture. Although a similar bill in 2016 proved unsuccessful in passing, the latest version is backed by extensive planning and organizing.

If passed, the exciting recognition would welcome a breath of energy to the community. With more and more developments blooming each day, the implementation of the bills would further expand the resurgence within the community. They now head to the subcommittee on National Parks, where they get reviewed before being voted on by the United States House and Senate. 

With only two other National Historic Areas in the state, Bronzeville would continue to set itself apart as a cultural landmark not only within Illinois but throughout the country. You can find updates on the progress of the House of Representatives’ bill here and the Senate’s bill here

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12.30.21 | Sage Advice

Resolutions for 2022

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success in a new year is by making a list of resolutions before it starts. This tradition is a powerful way to articulate your values and can hold you accountable for your goals heading into the new year. In case you’re unsure of what to add to your to-do list, here are some resolutions you can take into 2022 to continue championing a vibrant lifestyle.

Start Something You’ve Always Dreamed About

Heading into the new year, make it a priority to make an ambitious dream come true. Not only is it essential to set goals for yourself throughout the new year, but achieving them leads to significantly rewarding experiences. Whether you want to head back to school, discover a new hobby or change career paths, don’t be afraid to take initiative of your life. Fulfilling dreams helps give your life purpose, control and meaning. And, if this isn’t the year to do it, when is?

Put Your Health First

Putting your health first encompasses a variety of choices that you can make throughout the year. It’s important to remember that your body’s health consists of both physical and mental elements. So, while making sure you try to incorporate moderate, regular physical activity into your life along with a variety of nutritious foods, taking care of your mental health is just as important. And, lucky enough, sometimes specific actions will go hand in hand with helping both areas of wellness. 

Live in the Moment

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We believe one of the most significant goals you should have in the new year is to live in the present. To do so, you must focus on the now. A few great ways to do this are by practicing mindfulness, performing meditation or simply performing random acts of kindness in your community.  

We’re thankful to keep learning from the lessons that 2021 has taught us and couldn’t be more excited to see how our resolutions will play out in the upcoming year!

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12.28.21 | Sage Advice

2021: A Year in Review

2021 was a year of growth for Sage Collective, as we continued evolving and celebrating exciting milestones. Today, we’re reflecting on the past year and sharing our proudest achievements:

Breaking Ground on Our King Drive Properties

In 2020 we acquired our first two properties located in the Bronzeville community at 4108 and 4112 South King Drive. This year, we were proud to officially break ground on the project. In September 2021, Sage Collective’s Board of Directors and various members of our wonderful construction crew including, the General Contractor Shevaz Freeman, Owner’s Rep Ernest Brown and the Architect Gregory Williams, gathered to celebrate the event. In addition to the groundbreaking, we sat down with Board Member and VP for Legal & Development Dwain Kyles to learn more about the project and how it contributes to Sage’s vision for the future.  

Partnership With Chicago Commons

At the beginning of April, Sage Collective collaborated with Chicago Commons, a longstanding trailblazer of change in our community. The two-part live Q&A event addressed both facts and myths regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccination that was new to everyone at the time. Rear Admiral (Ret) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, who is one of the brilliant minds on our leadership team, helped answer a variety of questions and addressed the medical inequity in Black and Brown communities. Stay tuned for upcoming events with Chicago Commons in the new year.

Expanding our Vision

Following the launch of our website, blog and social media platforms in 2020, we have continued to share engaging material that enlightens audiences with our rich vision for the future. Along with elaborating on our 9 Vibrant Ways of Living, we were able to have meaningful conversations that amplified our work as we continue celebrating the historic community of Bronzeville. With the wealth of knowledge and experience from everyone on our team, we have broadened a collective understanding of older adult living, health and wellness that has led us to become changemakers in our community, where we are focused on creating innovative strategies for older adult programming, residences and lifestyles. 

We can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you and see what 2022 brings!

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12.23.21 | Sage Advice

Best Winter Day Trips Close to Chicago

While Chicago brings a variety of enjoyable activities to partake in during the winter, sometimes a break from all the bustle and noise of the city is welcome. For our fellow Bronzeville residents who might need a getaway this winter, here are the best day trips you can take to brighten your perspective with a change in scenery:  

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Only a 1-½ hour drive away sits the quaint city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The beloved destination has been a top destination for Chicago residents for generations and offers a variety of fun-filled activities and stops for all ages. While the summer months are Geneva’s most popular tourist times, winter brings a much tamer atmosphere. 

For lovers of the outdoors, Geneva’s Lake Shore trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy spectacular views in the brisk air. Once February arrives, the famous lake becomes filled with extraordinary ice sculptures, bonfires on the beach and more. While it is the coldest season, don’t miss your chance to experience the incredibly warm community.  

Lake Geneva’s impressive ice sculptures

Michigan City, Indiana

An adorable city located just off of Lake Michigan’s shores, Michigan City should be high on everyone’s list to visit this winter. The town is only one hour away from Chicago and is surrounded by one of America’s most stunning national wonders, the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks. While winter isn’t typically the time of year many choose to visit the lakeside landscape, witnessing the sand-swept mounds covered in layers of soft snow is sure to delight all visitors.  

While many enjoy a stroll on one of the many trails found in the park, the town offers guests a variety of other ventures, including shopping at the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, dazzling architecture at Barker Mansion and an array of wineries and breweries. 

Take a Joyride up Lake Shore Drive 

Sometimes the best day trip is just hopping in the car and taking a drive to enjoy your surroundings, which is exactly what Lake Shore Drive delivers. Arguably the prettiest extended urban parkway in the nation, the 18-mile expressway runs from Ardmore Street on its north end to 71st Street on its south end, and lucky for Bronzeville residents, the best place to start the journey is from the south.  

The ride is filled with recognizable Chicago landmarks that include the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park alongside spectacular views of Lake Michigan. However, once you reach the end of the trip, don’t be afraid to stop there. Exiting on N Sheffield Road will take you through several alluring suburbs filled with even more attractions and impressive architecture. 

Whether you’re taking a thrilling trip to a neighboring state or simply enjoying a joyride down a historic street, we hope this inspires you to find your new favorite winter getaway from the city! 

The stunning view of Lake Michigan from the Indiana Dunes near Michigan City, Indiana
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12.21.21 | Sage Advice

A Brief History of The Chicago Bee

The promotion of Bronzeville’s rich history is something we continuously advocate for and give voice to at Sage Collective. That’s why today, we’re spreading the word about The Chicago Bee, a local paper that dominated the press for decades while distinguishing itself by its promotion of Black history.

History

The Chicago Bee, often referred to as Chicago Sunday Bee, was founded by Anthony Overton in 1925. Overton was a successful banker and manufacturer, and the first African American to lead a major conglomerate (Overton Hygienic Company, which was a cosmetics business). After its founding, the Bee moved into the now-famous Art Deco building located at 3647-55 S. State St., which is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Chicago Landmark. 

The Bee’s staff included many esteemed members of Chicago’s community of writers and journalists at the time. Chandler Owen, a talented writer, became editor of the Bee after moving to Chicago in the 1920s and worked with other savvy editors including Ida B. Wells and Olive Diggs. During the World War II years, when men were in active military duty, the majority of the writing staff were women, which allowed them unprecedented autonomy and opportunity for advancement. 

The Bee covered a wide range of issues of the day. It was the first newspaper to support the efforts of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the nation’s first all-Black labor union created during conflicts at The Pullman Company. It also supported and covered the Black women’s club movement, and gained distinction from other newspapers in the Chicago press in their publicity of Black history and literature.  

Following Overton’s passing in 1946, the Bee was briefly run by his two sons but ceased operation in 1947. Even though very little of the historic newspaper has survived today, it is still recognized as one of the most influential and acclaimed papers of the 20th century. 

Through Sage Collective’s vision, we are proud to contribute to the legacy of African American culture, community and success that is, and always has been, the heart and soul of Bronzeville.

The Chicago Bee front page from May 4, 1941
The Chicago Bee Building
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12.16.21 | Sage Advice

Chicago’s Adopt-A-Landmark Grant Makes Way for Repairs at Historic Bronzeville Church

In recent months, the city of Chicago has shown a growing interest in developing affordable housing and restoring historical structures across the city, and with the Citywide Adopt-A-Landmark Fund, they’re doing just that in Bronzeville. Located only a few blocks from our King Drive Properties, Bronzeville’s Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, found at 4501 S. Vincennes Avenue is one of the 12  landmarks chosen by the city to receive the grant. 

For more than 100 years, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church has served its membership in the heart of Bronzeville. The beloved church is said to have been one of the birthplaces of gospel music and has hosted a number of distinguished guests over the years, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Olympian and Congressman Ralph Metcalfe, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, as well as renowned singers Dinah Washington and Mahalia Jackson. 

Thanks to unprecedented federal support from the Biden Administration, the Citywide Adopt-A-Landmark Fund, which is supporting Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church’s renovation with a $900,000 grant,  will be awarding several Chicago landmarks with millions of dollars annually for essential renovation and preservation upgrades. Once funds approved by the City Council, the money will be awarded to these landmark buildings to cover extensive interior and exterior restoration and improvements,

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church’s elaborate, historic interior

For the nearly 120-year-old church, this means that its roof and damaged  stained glass windows, that have endured harsh weather for decades, can finally be restored to their original beauty. As with other churches, Ebenezer’s membership has dwindled since the beginning of the pandemic almost two years ago. The church hopes that with the new renovations, more community members will be incentivized to visit the historic site and participate in their services. 

An exciting undertaking in the Bronzeville neighborhood, the restoration is not only one of the many developments that are part of Bronzeville’s renaissance, but proves that the city is showing more interest in improving the quality of life in communities like ours. To learn more about other Citywide Adopt-A-Landmark Fund projects happening throughout the city, visit their website here

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church’s exterior
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12.02.21 | Sage Advice

Exploring Bronzeville: The Little Black Pearl’s New C47 Work and Experiment Lounge

Bronzeville is a community whose residents are known to appreciate and demonstrate their love for their community. Sage Collective has been a part of Bronzeville since 1978, and we certainly aren’t the only organization that shares a deep respect for the historic persons and events that lived and transpired there.  Little Black Pearl, a thriving nonprofit found near Kenwood, is just one of the many other organizations actively engaged in bringing inspired change to the people of Bronzeville and its surrounding areas. 

The Little Black Pearl is popularly known as a ground-breaking educational program that provides youth with a safe environment within which to learn new skills, explore various programming and be surrounded by positive leaders and role models. The organization has been at the forefront of change on Chicago’s South Side for nearly 30 years. 

With this track record now established, Little Black Pearl is using its experience,  knowledge and appreciation for its community, to expand its programming initiatives to an older audience. Little Black Pearl’s founder Monica Haslap led the organization in its launch of  C47 Work and Experiment Lounge in November 2021. 

The lounge, which is found at 1060 East 47th Street, invites adults into a collaborative space to inspire creativity and explore new passions. Built with innovation in mind, this new environment includes fully operational workshops that range from culinary classes, to art projects and office spaces where anyone looking to escape the hardships of the past two years will gladly find tranquility.

Members who join the C47 Work and Experiment Lounge will be exposed to numerous creative visionaries and experts in music, technology, fashion and finance. For adults interested in becoming a member, memberships range from $50-$200 per month, and all offer a variety of different opportunities within the lounge. 

With hopes of serving longtime members of the community as a safe, creative space where unconventional ideas can thrive, C47 Work and Experiment Lounge embodies the values that Little Black Pearl has demonstrated for decades. And, like Sage Collective, the organization will likely continue leading change in the community for decades to come.

C47 Work and Experiment Lounge Interior, Photo Courtesy of Armand Morris
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11.16.21 | Sage Advice

The Magnitude of Mentorship as an Older Adult

While reflecting on the past, fortunate people will immediately recall someone who made a lasting impact on their lives. It may have been a coach, a teacher, a parent or a neighbor, but one throughline is shared by all:  the powerful and lasting influence of having a mentor. The process of mentoring and sharing guidance is a valuable and life-changing experience for mentees and can be just as significant for mentors. 

Intergenerational mentoring is a mutually beneficial way to provide both youth and older adults with new perspectives and opportunities for happier and healthier lives. For older adults, sharing life experiences and critical advice with young people can help dismantle generational barriers while fulfilling a sense of purpose many desire. 

We often think that loneliness and isolation are the exclusive domain of older adults, forgetting that young people experience these same emotions. With mentorship, the generations can come together to create a sense of belonging and stability. Youth who receive mentorship, specifically from older adults, have higher self-esteem, improved leadership and communication skills and often find themselves more willing to explore new ways to learn and grow. 

Among its many benefits, mentoring is a great way to diminish ageism and educate younger people about the aging process, expanding their empathy and strengthening their understanding of what others are experiencing. While mentees benefit from improved self-awareness, respect for their elders and other insightful perspectives, mentors gain invaluable knowledge themselves, creating a dynamic, elastic system for communities to thrive together. 

Anyone can be a mentor. The process is uniquely flexible and can be as easy as offering advice and creating a safe space for younger family or community members to visit if they ever need assistance or support. For those who prefer more structure, there are numerous mentorship programs in Bronzeville and around Chicago that anyone can join.

AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparents Program, offered through the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, allows volunteers age 55 and up to care for and guide Chicago’s youth, enriching the lives of everyone involved. The program actively serves 3,500 Illinois children and provides everything from educational support to essential care some may need. To learn more about their program and how to become involved, visit their website here

Mentorship is a critical asset to youth, older adults and communities that shapes positive outcomes in all directions. For older adults aspiring to empower others and share their essential voices, mentoring is the opportunity you’ve been seeking.

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