2022 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:
Vibrant Learning Program
Throughout 2022, we were able to continue strengthening our close relationship with Chicago Commons, another long-standing trailblazer for change in the community. Building upon our past work, we excitedly launched our Vibrant Learning Program with Chicago Commons Adult Day Services in late February, which continues to be a resounding success.
For the past eight months, our team has had the privilege to get to know program participants and help grow their understanding of everything from new technology to different cultures. Learning themes touched on traditions, storytelling, family connection and freedom, and engaging activities included armchair travel and digital painting.
Expanding Our Team
Along with the launch of our programming, we warmly welcomed new team members throughout the year. Leading the Vibrant Living Program, DeShunn Bray brought with her an impressive passion for forming rich connections with others and making a significant impact on the communities in which she interacts as our Manager of Programming and Community Engagement. Her amazing energy is something both our team and the participants in our Vibrant Living Program cherish.
We also welcomed Camille Love as one of our newest Board Members. The transition of long-time member Angela Higginbotham from our Board created such an opportunity for Camille and added to the related expertise of Sage Collective as it pursues ways of encouraging the adoption of healthier lifestyle choices among older adults in underserved communities.
We can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you and see what 2023 brings!
For many, digging into family histories may sound like a wholly worthwhile experience, while others may find it too time-consuming and extensive of a process – a common misconception. However, it’s more important than ever for all of us to learn, record and preserve the rich history connected to each of our lineages for our well-being and the well-being of future generations.
Our family histories are more than just birthdates and family tree charts; they’re full of rich information that helps each of us gain a stronger understanding of who we are. The information tied to family history has the ability to empower identities and build self-worth, especially for those who might not currently have access to information tied to their family’s past.
As we collaborate with family, community members and other resources that may help us discover our family history, we not only build connections with people in the present but also from the past and into the future.
Along with empowering identities, family history knowledge can have dramatic effects on your health and others in your family. Have you ever had a blank mind when the doctor asks if certain health conditions run in your family? Taking the time to reach out to family, and learn more about their medical history, is the best way to avoid this and discover what you might be at risk for. Knowing this history can help you make informed choices concerning your health to live a more vibrant life.
There are countless resources online and in-person that you should take advantage of when starting your genealogical journey. The first resources everyone should look to are the ones you might already have, like family trees, scrapbooks and other family history basics. If you don’t have any yourself, connect with distant relatives to gather materials that you believe would be helpful to you.
Websites like FamilySearch.org are perfect for those of us who want to dive even deeper into their identity and background, and it’s free to use. Another way to stay involved online is by joining the family history conversation online. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are perfect for making connections and expanding your resources through a network of family historians.
Whether you already have a great deal of knowledge related to your family history or you’re new to the ancestry trend, having access to genealogy can change your life. Try taking an hour out of the day to poke around and see what you can discover for yourself.
The Art of Storytelling & Why You Should Share Your Story
At Sage Collective, we believe that everyone should feel empowered to express their unique voice. Storytelling is one of the best ways to do so while supporting vibrant living, and, has the power to inspire those exposed to it. Today, we’re highlighting the value behind the art of storytelling and why you shouldn’t hesitate from sharing your own story.
The art of storytelling is a valuable tool used by numerous cultures across the world for thousands of years. Throughout history, humans have found various ways to translate their emotions and experiences through ever-changing forms of communication. From cave drawings to spoken word to cinematography, there are countless ways we have been able to tell our stories.
Finding Your Voice
As we’ve mentioned, sharing your story is a powerful tool that can heal trauma, create empathy, and even help those exposed to it. However, before you can tell your story, you must find your voice.
You might be asking what this means. In simple terms, discovering your voice means that you know the value behind your story. You want others to be able to hear what you want to say, and through this desire, confidence rises, and you are allowed more freedom to express yourself through whatever means.
Finding your unique voice and sharing your story can be a daunting but rewarding challenge. One of the best ways of articulating your story is through writing or journaling. Writing is a powerful form of self-expression and allows you to communicate your voice through written word. If writing isn’t your forte, try drawing or even scribbling.
No matter what method you use for storytelling, it’s key to remember that your voice matters. Continue to listen to yourself, be authentic and look for meaning in everything you do. You have the right to express yourself, and by doing so, you could have the power to inspire others.
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.
While the internet offers an endless amount of affordances, it often comes with a sense of overwhelming. Often, people will approach this matter by disengaging with the medium. But what if we started looking at it from a different perspective, thinking about how we can take advantage of technology to better our wellbeing and find our purpose?
For most, the meaning of life lies in the relationship we build with our family and community or through the application of various goals and values we assign to ourselves with time. As a significant element of Sage Collective’s 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, we believe that discovering a purpose is an essential component of living vibrantly.
What many people often forget is that our purpose isn’t set. It ebbs and flows and changes as we do. Throughout these shifts of perspective, we find ourselves lost and without direction, which is why it’s so critical to experience a sense of connection, an affordance technology offers.
Because of technology, we are more connected and informed than ever before, but it’s also more difficult than ever for us to hide from negative behaviors. “Technology has to be utilized to bridge the gap that it has created. When so much of our lives are played out through technology; the best way to enhance them might just be through it,” says Constellation AI, one of the leading companies building technology to enhance human wellbeing.
Because of technology’s various resources, including access to new communities, activities and knowledge, it has the potential to empower individuals and better our ability to find purpose. Discover how you can use technology to better yourself, find a way to live in harmony with both your physical and digital environment, and through that connectedness, you’re sure to discover your inner purpose.
As we continue our Vibrant Living Programming, we also want to resume sharing rich content that compliments our spirited training, and this month’s theme is discovery. Because the online world is so vast, no matter how experienced your knowledge is, there’s always more to uncover. Today, we’re exploring some of the most beneficial mobile apps that every adult should consider discovering for themself. Learn more about them here:
One of the best ways to curate a vibrant lifestyle is by following a healthy diet that includes moderate caloric intake and plant-based eating. The ShopWell app is a great way to assist you on your journey and help you match foods to your dietary needs. After creating a profile the app will help you create a nutritious shopping list full of everything your body needs, making anyone more confident with their cooking. ShopWell is available to download for free on all IOS and Android devices.
Along with producing one of our favorite podcasts in 2022, NPR provides instant access to all of their breaking news through their NPR and NPR One apps. The NPR application allows users to read the latest stories and listen to public radio stations from the convenience of their phones. For those who prefer audio stories, NPR’s partner app, NPR One, offers the organization’s best podcasts and shows. NPR’s mobile apps are available to download on all devices.
For those searching for a unique form of entertainment that can still stimulate your brain, look no further than Lumosity. This brain training app is a great way to exercise your mind with various exciting, interactive games that focus on memory, speed, flexibility and problem-solving. The app is free to download, but also comes with a paid option for anyone wanting to look for an even more challenging and rewarding experience.
Another beneficial way anyone can live more vibrantly is by regularly being active and reducing stress, and thankfully, practicing yoga is an excellent activity to cover both. Yoga is an extremely valuable exercise for anyone searching to improve muscle strength, balance, mobility and flexibility. My Pocket Yoga is an amazing resource for yoga lovers, providing graphics for over 200 poses and videos led by certified yoga instructors. The app is downloadable on any IOS or Android device.
As much as many of us love to admit we are tired of Zoom, the application has provided an accessible way for everyone, from coworkers to family members, to connect throughout the pandemic. Zoom’s mobile application is nearly identical to its computer version, so anyone familiar with its companion should have no problem feeling comfortable maneuvering through its mobile version.
The application still remains extremely relevant today, connecting loved ones across the world. In addition to audio and video calls, Zoom conveniently also allows users to share their screens and record conversations. Zoom is free to download on all IOS and Android devices.
With the new year comes a plethora of rich podcasts for audiences to dive into. As our Vibrant Learning Program with Chicago Commons continues to explore the affordances of modern technology, we wanted to share a few tips of our own. Last autumn, we spotlighted five of our favorite podcasts at the time, and today, we’re spotlighting five more that are sure to bring you joy and an excess of knowledge throughout the year:
Hidden Brains prides itself on being “a conversation about life’s unseen patterns”. Each week, the stimulating show explores deep questions that lay at the heart of the changing world to help listenings not only better understand their surroundings but also themselves. Episodes range from discussions on the psychology of self-doubt, working from home, difficulties of apologizing and everything in between. Archived episodes of the beloved podcast can be found on NPR, and new episodes can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
For some of us, the internet is an unexplored world and for others, it’s a comforting tool. And while those audiences seem distant, Reply All provides a perfect place for everyone – novice or expert – to listen and learn. The tech podcast does an amazing job of exploring stories involving complex technologies in accessible ways, explaining what they are talking about as they go. Previous episodes have included investigating online scams to the best accounts you should follow on various social media platforms. You can listen to Reply All on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
While a podcast all about the process of grief might not sound fun, Grief Cast explores themes hard to find anywhere else in the podcast world. Cariad Lloyd, the podcast’s host, brings a new comedian guest to the show each week, which helps transform the discussion into a dark comedy at times. Wandering through discussions of grief, loss, and the “weirdness that happens when someone passes”, Grief Cast is a perfect podcast for anyone looking to feel a little better during a hard time. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
With so many podcasts filled with stories of success, it’s sometimes just nice to hear how some people’s failures led to a larger impact than their largest success. How to Fail With Elizabeth Day provides just that; Day shares her platform to interview a variety of guests on how their failures have shaped who they have become today. The inspiring, comforting and relatable podcast showcases just how when we think we’ve hit rock bottom, there is always a way up. You can find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
Known as one of the most popular podcasts around, The Daily covers all you need to know about world news in less than 20 minutes. The New York Times produced podcast covers one in-depth news story each weekday. Michael Barbaro, journalist and the host of the show, provides listeners with the top story of the day paired with guests that include Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, other acclaimed journalists. The archived episodes are easy to explore for listeners, and there are many ways to listen, including on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Echo or simply from The New York Time’s Website.
While podcasts may be an unknown area for many, the audio stories afford amazing resources, tools and manners of entertainment for both newcomers and natives alike. You can listen to each of the podcasts on their websites, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts.
Pass Your Time With Podcasts: What You Should Be Listening to Right Now
While autumn is a favorite time for many to pick up new books and revisit forgotten ones, podcasts also serve as a great choice for those looking for a mix of entertainment, education and reflection. Podcasts are usually free to listeners and extend knowledge on everything from how to cook healthier meals to entertaining history facts to current government and public policy news. Here are the top five podcasts Sage Collective believes you should be listening to right now:
Hosted by Dan Harris, a famed journalist who suffered a panic attack live on national television, Ten Percent Happier explores how keeping your spirits up is imperative to aging well. After his traumatic on-air experience, Harris discovered meditation and now invites experts on the subject, scientists and celebrities to share their own epiphanies and experiences of success. Topics on the show vary from What to do About Eco-Anxiety to Joy Vs. Happiness. Anyone interested in hearing motivational stories about coming back from what seems like life’s lowest points will enjoy this outstanding selection.
Into America is a podcast that sheds light on what it’s like to be Black in America. Trymain Lee, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Winning journalist hosts the enlightening show. The MSNBC-produced podcast explores how public policy and government action, and the lack thereof, affects Black Americans’ lives. Previous topics include The Vaccine Gap, Justice for Black Farmers and The Black Firefighters of 9/11. Into America produces an in-depth look into the continued injustice that Black Americans endure and what it means to hold the country to its obligations.
A show that celebrates obscure historical facts and events, History Unplugged uncovers and revisits lost stories that changed the world. History buffs and amateurs alike will enjoy the unique narratives, expert interviews and call-ins that make up the podcast. Previous episodes of the show include The Japanese-Americans Who Fought Nazis in Europe, Electric City: Ford and Edison’s Vision of Creating a Steampunk Utopia and An Alternate History of the Lincoln Assassination Plot. Chocked full of amusement, myth-busting and a range of wisdom, almost everyone is guaranteed to relish over History Unplugged.
Award-winning journalist Paul Vogelzang hosts the fascinating, high-energy podcast, Not Old – Better. The inspiring show reminds its audience weekly that it is never too late to pursue your passion and purpose in life. Vogelzang invites a mix of well-known entertainers, intriguing role models and ordinary people to discuss aging and how to overcome the stereotypes and stigma that come with it. Previous guests have included actress Octavia Spencer, Dr. Anthony Fauci and activist Khary Lazarre-White. Listeners and critics alike have praised the podcast as a perfect choice for middle-aged and older adults.
Homemade is the paramount podcast for anyone looking to explore the food world. Foodies and amateur cooks alike will enjoy the entertainment show hosted by industry insider Sabrina Medora and author Martie Duncan. Each week the hosts invite celebrated cooks from all walks of life to discuss and share their memories behind their favorite recipes. Past topics on the show include growing ingredients at home, delicious vegan options, repurposing leftovers and rethinking prep time. Get your cooking gear ready, put on your apron and prepare to join the fun with Homemade.
Whether you need something to listen to on your way to work or while doing chores around the house, don’t hesitate to press PLAY on any of these wonderful podcasts. You can listen to each of the podcasts on their websites, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts.
The art of meditation and how you can benefit from it
In today’s fast-paced society, rife with uncertainty and change, devoting time to self-care and introspection is more important than ever. At Sage Collective, we support and encourage participating in spiritual or religious experiences as part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living. Meditating can be one such practice, revealing a sense of discovery and heightened mindfulness.
What is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient technique used by many for more than 3,500 years; historians have traced its utilization back to the formation of many world religions. The purpose of meditation is to help train oneself in practicing mindfulness while learning to better understand feelings and emotions to create a healthy perspective.
Meditating can feel uncomfortable and challenging at first, since it uses techniques that may be unfamiliar. However, this ancient tradition can lead to immense personal growth and understanding for those who find their groove in the routine.
Research suggests that meditating can have enormous positive effects on managing symptoms of anxiety and depression and reducing stress. Other conditions that can benefit from meditation include chronic pain, insomnia, high blood pressure and IBS. And while experts have yet to completely understand how meditation works, research clearly demonstrates the holistic impact it has on one’s health and well-being.
Tips for how to meditate
Get comfortable. Find a place to sit upright with legs crossed instead of laying down, as it can be easy to find yourself falling asleep. However, comfort is key for meditation, so avoid positions that may prove uncomfortable after several minutes.
Keep a timer. It can be easy to worry about time as you start meditating; setting a timer for small increments of 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can be an easy way to avoid that. Scheduling a specific time of the day to meditate can also help with consistency — leading to more beneficial results.
Focus on breathing. It can be an easy way to get into the flow of meditation. As you breathe, observe what it feels like as air enters your body and then leaves it.
Be open-minded. As a new experience, it may be hard to empty your mind during meditation. Emotions and feelings that might be uncomfortable may arise, but don’t ignore them; acknowledge their presence and slowly bring your focus back to breathing.
Don’t give up. It’s also important to remember that meditating takes time and practice to build as a habit, and expecting too much too fast can lead to disappointment. Hang in there, and discover just how much of a life-changer meditation can be!
There is no “right way” to meditate — it is a practice meant to be personalized for each individual and will feel different for everyone. For those looking to become more mindful, self-aware and gain better control over feelings such as anxiety and stress, meditation may be the technique for you.
If the art of meditation interests you, check out the video below. The 10-minute tutorial guides beginners through their first meditation and is narrated by a mindfulness coach and teacher, John Davisi.
Our Vision for 4108 and 4112 King Drive: A Conversation with Dwain Kyles
As we continue the renovation of the Sage Collective properties at 4108 and 4112 S King Drive, side-by-side buildings in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, we sat down with Board Member and VP for Legal & Development, Dwain Kyles, to understand the project and how it contributes to Sage’s vision for the future.
Location is everything
Having owned and operated residential property in the Bronzeville neighborhood for more than 40 years, Kyles understands that these buildings were in the perfect location for Sage Collective..
Intending to add to the great cultural history that King Drive represents, Kyles imagines these properties will also foster secure, welcoming environments for the development and enhancement of intergenerational relationships in the future.
“We want to be very intentional about building community, and we think that King Drive has an appeal of its own. What we hope to do is add to that appeal by providing tangible, beneficial places for gathering, along with programming that will ultimately strengthen the self-image and empowerment of older adults in the community,” says Kyles.
While the neighborhood itself is a large part of the appeal, the buildings’ adjacency to the historic Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church also generated interest and inspiration for the properties’ future. “Given the importance of a spiritual basis for the work we are doing, reflected in our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, the proximity to this iconic church was a good sign for us,” says Kyles, “and felt like more than just a coincidence.”
Introducing vibrant, high-quality, affordable living within these properties
“Rehabbing the two properties is no small undertaking,” explains Kyles. “Using our passion for vibrant, high-quality, affordable housing as a focus (a topic you can read more about here) we are putting incredible thought and care into the design and build out of the interior spaces. With the support of our board member Mary Frances De Rose, a renowned architectural gerontologist, we have been able to include accessible and supportive living enhancements for future residents of our properties that traditional housing for older adults lacks.”
“The physical attributes of the buildings are being designed in such a way that we will accommodate some of the desires and conveniences for older adults that are often overlooked. I’m talking about lowering the light switches so someone in a wheelchair can easily reach them, ambient lighting, high-quality cabinetry that is accessible and easier to use, and bathrooms with tastefully designed safety features that will allow our older adult residents to feel both secure and at home,” reflects Kyles.
The vision stretches beyond the physical buildings
Our passion for an exceptional quality of life for older adults goes beyond the physical space, however. This project, like other Sage residences for older adults in underserved communities, will come alive through the integration of interactive and exploratory programming.
Kyles continues, “While the King Drive properties themselves are a jumping off point, we are focused on the longer-term desire for Sage Collective to serve as a catalyst for real change for our residents and neighbors, government and civic partners, and leaders in the business community by rethinking and redesigning our traditional approaches to providing housing for older adults in our black and brown communities.”
“We tend to focus on what’s ‘new and poppin’ and what’s the hottest and the latest… while giving little care and attention to those things that have helped us to get where we are, including people. We have seen over and over again that distraction leading to deplorable outcomes and ones that have weakened the fabric of society,” explains Kyles.
Kyles continues, “Our vision for these properties on King Drive — along with all of our ambitious plans for the future — center around creating communities that are rich with diverse ages, families, cultures and experiences. By having the ability to rework the structural barriers hindering intergenerational and cultural interaction and progress, we are capable of establishing environments where there is an appreciation for people of all backgrounds and ages. And when we succeed, we’re stronger as a community, we’re stronger as a neighborhood, we’re stronger as a family,” and most important, we’re stronger as a collective.”
Board Member and VP for Legal & Development, Dwain Kyles