Congrats to Sunshine Senior Center on Third Accreditation
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Congrats to Sunshine Senior Center on Third Accreditation

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March 13, 2014

Congratulations to the Sunshine Senior Center of the City of St. Petersburg, Florida for earning National Senior Center Accreditation in February.  

The Sunshine Senior Center has a proud tradition of “firsts.” It was the first St. Petersburg multi-service center to function as a senior center and the first in the State of Florida to receive National Accreditation. 

Surrounding Community

The Sunshine Senior Center is located in the downtown area of St. Petersburg. It is operated under the Parks and Recreation Department. The property is within 5 miles of more than a dozen active senior living facilities. The main bus terminal for the city is located two blocks from the center. The property is an impressive expanse with numerous outposts and recreational opportunities on site. In addition, office and meeting space is leased to several community partners. 

Most participants live within one mile of the center and walk or use public transportation. There is ample parking on the side of the building. Approximately 300 participants visit the center daily.

Programs and Activities

The Sunshine Center offers a variety of recreational, social, and educational programs. The activities are planned with the sole purpose of suiting the needs of the participants. There is a nice mix of small group activities such as arts and crafts, billiards and table tennis, combined with large group activities like exercise classes, member parties, and balloon volleyball. The Sunshine Center operates a fitness center furnished with Shapemaster® equipment. 

The center is opened each weekday and is rented to the public most week nights and weekends. Special events may be held on evenings or weekends. The accreditation peer reviewer particularly enjoyed the ballroom dancing program. In addition to other support groups, the Sunshine Center recently started an LBGT support group. Their Wii bowling team and their chorus group are widely recognized in the county.

Funding

The center has several sources of income including municipal funding, trust funds, facility rentals, user fees, community sponsors for special events, and enterprise operations. The Friends of the Sunshine Center, Inc. has provided funds for many improvements at the center and continues to embark upon fundraising initiatives.

Accreditation

The Peer Reviewer observed many strengths of the City of St. Petersburg, Sunshine Senior Center. These included:

  • Staff is welcoming and work exceptionally well as a team.
  • The center has a comprehensive volunteer system. Older adults are given the opportunity to contribute their time and talents in a meaningful way. Volunteers serve as greeters, meal servers, instructors, committee members, and program registrars.
  • The exceptional facilities house the St. Petersburg International Folk Art Society and the 90 year old historic Shuffleboard Club, which hosted the International Shuffleboard Tournament in the 2013.
  • The ballroom dancing program attracts users from diverse economic and racial backgrounds.

NISC offers the only National Senior Center Accreditation Program. Accreditation provides official recognition that a senior center meets the nine standards of senior center operations.

Sunshine Senior Center’s commitment to accreditation is evident in the work they have done to prepare for their third accreditation. Maybe it is time to assess your center through the National Standards and workbook and then pursue National Senior Center Accreditation

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