SAGE | The Older Adult Program of Diversity Richmond

art journaling

SAGE Central Virginia is the older adult program of Diversity Richmond and an official affiliate of SAGE USA, the oldest non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of LGBT older adults.

Although largely invisible until very recently, LGBT older adults make up a growing share of the overall LGBT population and the larger senior population. Estimates of the LGBT older adult population in Central Virginia range from 7,000 to 18,000, although the actual number is difficult to ascertain because of the social stigma that exists against the LGBT community and the fact that many LGBT seniors never publicly come out.

Currently most of our programming is educational and social in nature. We host a Community Conversation each month on a variety of subjects. We have a popular ongoing Art Journaling class on second Saturdays. It’s free to participate and supplies are provided. We also have social events on a regular basis so that the LGBT Older Adults in Central Virginia can meet each other and start forming and reinforcing the social networks that become even more important as we age.

New Programs and Services For 2015

community conversation

SAGE is passionate about offering training to the aging services community in Central Virginia. In the summer of 2015, SAGE will begin offering cultural competency trainings on a regular basis at Diversity Richmond, and also at area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and organizations providing aging services. Email us for more information.

Senior ConnectionsSAGE has formed a partnership with Senior Connections - The Capitol Area Agency on Aging and will be starting a weekly Friendship Café at Diversity Richmond for seniors age 60 and older in October of 2015. A nutritious midday meal will be served. There is no charge for this service. All participants are encouraged to contribute according to their ability; however, there is no obligation. Seniors will enjoy meeting up with good friends and participating in diverse activities that assure that seniors remain active and connected to the community while meeting their nutritional needs. Seniors will enjoy exercise, lectures, health and nutrition education and screenings, and other educational, enrichment, and social activities. To get an application or more information, Click HERE to print an application or call (804) 343-3000 or write to: SC/CAAA Friendship Cafes, 24 E. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219.

Consider Adopting Our Cafe! The goal of the Adopt a Cafe Initiative is to provide individuals and the community the opportunity to support their neighborhood Friendship Cafe by "adopting" a Cafe or becoming a "friend or sponsor" of a Cafe. We hope to raise funds to help provide more exercise, recreation, life-long learning and artistic activities at the cafe. For more information email Colleen Wilhelm at Senior Connections or call 804-672-4497.

Recent Social & Educational Highlights

EV Day of Action

In February 2015, at Equality Virginia’s Day of Action, Shannon Marling, MSG and Robyn Bentley presented the workshop SAGE: Strengthening the community of LGBT Virginians who are 50+ through advocacy and community engagement.

In December, 2014 SAGE held a Winter Open House for our families, friends, and allies to celebrate a phenomenal year for equality. Virginians gained the freedom to marry the person they love in June and same-sex couples got the right to legally adopt. We have a supportive governor, attorney general, lieutenant governor, Richmond city council and city police chief. Everyone enjoyed light refreshments and live entertainment was provided by Monument City Music.

Storycorp OutLoud logoAlso in December, SAGE provided 18 storytellers for StoryCorp OutLoud and hosted the recording sessions at the community center. StoryCorps recognizes the profound historical importance of capturing the stories of the LGBTQ community and the urgent need for this work to happen now. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history. Richmond stories will be a part of that history.

In October we subsidized the RVA LGBTQ History Bus Tour to give seniors a reduced price to explore the fascinating people and events that shaped Richmond’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Beth Marschak, co-author of Images of America: Lesbian and Gay Richmond, and a longtime human and civil rights activist brought this history to life as our tour guide.

Virginia Pride is held each September and in 2014 SAGE hosted our first “Senior Hangout” tent. The 20 by 30 foot party tent was furnished with comfy tables and chairs borrowed from our sibling organization Diversity Thrift. We had a fun LGBTQ Trivia Game going the entire time. Those who answered their trivia question correctly got to spin our prize wheel for a variety of fun prizes. Lots of young people stopped by to play the game too. We also hosted a Sunday brunch the following day at Nacho Mamas.

In June of 2014 for Pride month, we hosted “RVA LGBTQ History – A Community Conversation” with 15 activists and community leaders from every generation sharing memorable moments and milestones in RVA and Virginia LGBTQ history. The good, the bad, and the fabulous! Our oldest panelist was 95 and the youngest was 23. We filled Triangle Players Theatre and had more folks listening from the lobby. The event was videotaped and is available to view on YouTube.

In April 2014 SAGE and AARP hosted a free screening of the documentary Gen Silent at Richmond Triangle Players with a panel discussion. Similar AARP events are scheduled for 2015.

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