Pennsylvania Volunteer Program Receives Recognition as "Program of Distinction"

Posted: January 6, 2017

S.A.G.E. (Senior Adults for Greater Education) commits to reaching more students, expanding to additional school districts.

Press Release: October 14, 2016 

Contact: Jessie Tettemer | 215-605-8140 |  

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Senior Adults for Greater Education (S.A.G.E.), a local program that matches community members 55+ with volunteer positions in their local school districts, has received national recognition from Generations United as a 2017 “Program of Distinction” for its work in bridging the generation gap in a mutually beneficial manner for students, teachers, and seniors. S.A.G.E.., founded by former school teacher, Beryl Katz, unites youth and seniors in an effort to enrich education and leave a legacy for future generations. Generations United, a national organization that works to improve the lives of children, youth and older people through intergenerational collaboration and public policies, awards the “Program of Distinction” annually as a recognition of excellence and designation of a program that meets the U.S. benchmark for intergenerational programs. S.A.G.E. is one of only seven organizations nationwide to receive this designation this year. 

Beryl Katz of Bucks County started S.A.G.E. in 1999 in a single local elementary school as a passion project that was inspired by her own special relationship with her grandparents. S.A.G.E. was Katz’s way of encouraging similar intergenerational bonds amongst others, and she developed the program with two different but equally important purposes. The first is to donate the time and experience of retirees, which offers tremendous value to the students and the schools. Likewise, the retirees who volunteer in the program gain memorable experiences and valuable exchanges with the younger generation. Secondly, the purpose of S.A.G.E. is to create a connection between seniors and the school districts, which their tax dollars help to fund. Involving this generation in the schools, bridges an awareness and engagement gap that often exists and allows seniors to not only witness, but also benefit from the value provided by the district. 

S.A.G.E. has since developed into a region-wide effort that provides a platform for people 55+ to collaborate with more than 5,000 students age 5-18, creating an intergenerational dialogue that gives students a positive view of their older neighbors, and lets seniors participate in and see the value of their local school districts while adding value to the schools. The program is currently active with the following school districts: Council Rock, Hatboro-Horsham, New Hope Solebury and Saint Andrew. 

“Receiving the ‘Program of Distinction’ from Generations United is an honor and incredible milestone for S.A.G.E. The designation motivates us to expand to new districts in the tristate area with our continued mission of creating a mutually beneficial program for seniors, students, and teachers.” said Beryl Katz, Founder of S.A.G.E. and former school teacher. 

“I have been a volunteer with S.A.G.E. for 16 or 17 years,” says Sol Feinstone Elementary school volunteer, Harry Niemann, 84. “It has been a win-win situation. I teach first graders who need help adapting to the new school routine. I help them develop skills in reading, math and writing. To see the development of first graders from day one to the end of the first year is absolutely amazing. It surprised me that I benefited as much as the students. Working with youth keeps you young.” 

Generations United awards “Program of Distinction” each year to intergenerational programs following an application and assessment process. Criteria for the designation includes a tie to the community, the offering of formal training or orientation, and proactive collection of evaluation data for the purposes of improving the program. 

About Senior Adults for Greater Education (S.A.G.E.):

S.A.G.E. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit devoted to uniting youth and seniors in an effort to enrich education and leave a legacy for future generations. S.A.G.E. matches community members, aged 55 and better, with volunteer opportunities within their local school districts, including weekly positions, one-time events and specialized extracurricular activities. Today, S.A.G.E. has a dynamic volunteer corps that reaches over 5,000 students annually in our member districts which include Council Rock, Hatboro-Horsham, New Hope Solebury and Saint Andrew. In 2006, S.A.G.E. won a Daily Point of Light Award from President George H. W. Bush for volunteer service and creative change in the community.