Why I Joined Sage Day

Why I Joined Sage Day

John Reilly, MSW, LCSW, PsyA Executive Director

There have been several points in my life where I was given an opportunity that had a great impact on my life; the opportunities were a change in circumstance or a relationship with a person who came into my life at the right time. What drew me to Sage Day was seeing that students who came to Sage Day were given a similar opportunity to change their lives and to have relationships with caring people who wanted to help them grow.

For many, school was a place where they would at best survive. They often felt school to be a torture, where they were just a face in the crowd, and where they were  alone with their problems; very painful problems that often drove them to feelings of hopelessness.  Sage Day from it’s founding was a place where people got a new start and where students don’t just survive but they thrive. This is a community effort involving teachers, administrators, students, therapists, families, as well as the board of directors.  Many people have contributed to what Sage Day is today and I’m proud of being a part of Sage for the past 17 years.


Chris Leonard, LCSW, M.Ed. Director of Operations

For me, Sage Day is the culmination of a lifetime of preparation and learning.  Having experienced my own uncertainty as a teen and young adult, I received invaluable guidance and support from several wise and helpful mentors along the way.  Inspired to help others find their own way, I began working with children and teens at the age of 17 as a camp counselor and have continued as a teacher, therapist, parent and school administrator over the better part of the past 40 years. I have worked in diverse environments ranging from the inner city of Central Harlem, NYC to the Green Mountains of Vermont.  My personal vision for Sage Day has stemmed largely from my work at Camp Killooleet in Vermont. Under the mentorship of Killooleet’s leaders John, Ellie and Kate Seeger, I learned the power of a supportive community and how people can thrive given the right mixture of group cohesiveness, individual freedom, personal responsibility and mutual respect. I learned how to understand and leverage group dynamics to build and sustain the kind of supportive, collaborative and productive community that Sage Day is today. I also learned the importance of balancing work with play. All of this learning has served as the foundation for my work and continued learning at Sage Day.  I have been extremely fortunate to collaborate with my partners as well as the students, staff and parents of Sage Day in building a place where everyone involved has the freedom, responsibility and support to challenge him or herself to work hard, play hard, open new doors and hold doors for others.”


Jon Brandt, Advisory Board Chairman

My first experience with Sage Day was when I was introduced to Chris Leonard and John Reilly and listened to their passion for what they have done and want to accomplish as leaders in The Sage Day schools. I was so impressed with their care and appreciation for the Sage Day team of administrators ,teachers and therapists. I found the Sage team’s dedication to the mission, their special attention to every student, and their expectation that every family participate in the process to be unique and effective.

The life changing event for me was when I attended the Sage Day graduation in June 2010 and listened to the stories told by graduates of how Sage changed their lives and gave them the tools to take on the challenges of life after Sage…it brought tears to my eyes.

At that moment I knew I wanted to be a part of Sage.