Four Senior Centers Earn NISC Accreditation in June
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Four Senior Centers Earn NISC Accreditation in June

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July 10, 2014

Congratulations to four senior centers, three in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey, on earning National Senior Center Accreditation this June. The interest, effort, and investment into the self-assessment and accreditation process shows that each center values providing quality services for their communities.

55 Kip Center

55 Kip Center is found in the borough of Rutherford in Bergen County, New Jersey. It is a resource for over 600 members and their families. Participants are drawn from 14 diverse communities in southwest Bergen. They are open Tuesday thru Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. and Tuesday thru Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8 p.m. 

Their strengths include the quality of their programs, the professionalism of three full-time and seven part time staff, the dedication of 140 volunteers throughout the year, and the leadership and involvement of a 20 member Board of Directors and 19 organizations represented on the Bridgebuilders Advisory Committee. 

The Peer Reviewers noted the following strengths:

  • Dedicated, skilled, adaptable, and long-tenured paid staff
  • Participants are very happy with what they get from Kip and feel there is little, or as often stated ‘no’, room for improvement
  • Deeply and broadly integrated within the community with a strong reputation in nonprofit, government, and business communities
  • Accomplish a great depth and breadth of programs considering their relatively small space
  • Skilled,  active, engaged, and dedicated Board 
  • Awareness and attentiveness to marketing, public relations, and image
  • Program instructors observed were developing a supportive, healthy, and fun learning environment 
  • Use of local resources for internships and other leveraging of community resources

Center in the Park

Center in the Park (CIP) is, as its name notes, located in a park and has been the “Gem of Germantown,” a suburb of Philadelphia for 45 years. Renovated from a former library, the building is an architectural treasure and serves an enrolled listing of 6,000 area older adults, a majority of whom are African American (80%).

It offers a full range of social services, onsite programs, nutrition, arts and crafts, counseling and ombudsman programs, and volunteer opportunities. Major funding sources are the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), service contracts, and United Way. CIP has a national reputation for its evidence-based health and wellness programs, some of which have been implemented in partnership with academic institutions.

The Peer Reviewer noted the following strengths: 

  • Focused Strategic Plan with excellent Benchmarks and Review Process
  • Excellent organizational planning documents including
    • Outreach Plan,
    • Financial Policies and Procedural Manual,
    • Personnel Policies, and
    • Volunteer Handbook
  • Model utilization of evidence-based health and wellness programs and accompanying evaluation measures
    • The high incident of evidence-based programs at CIP means multiple levels of evaluation are available extensively in program areas. In addition, excellent outcome measures are used regularly, including finding new friends (socialization levels), perceived health improvements, ability to make healthy choices, and the role of CM service in assisting participants to remain independent. 

The Raymond & Miriam Klein JCC

The Raymond & Miriam Klein JCC is located in northeast Philadelphia. The senior center is located within a 126,000 square foot facility. Northeast Philadelphia has one of the highest proportions of seniors within the Philadelphia area. Klein JCC is committed to reducing barriers and increasing the opportunity for independent seniors to age in place.  They oversee two senior centers and serve more than 5,000 seniors annually. They provide more than 100,000 congregate or home delivered meals and fresh produce to vulnerable community members. 

Klein JCC engages more than 900 volunteers per year. In addition to a full schedule of activities, they host special events, and services, which include information and referral services, counseling and case management, in-home support (home modifications and repairs and in-home care), ESL and citizenship classes, social, recreational, and educational classes, and a medical and dental clinic.

The Peer Reviewer noted the following strengths: 

  • Commitment to mission
  • Creative, highly qualified staff
  • Commitment to helping seniors age in place
  • Creative management and successful volunteer program
  • Wide range of programming—wide array of programs for the active, vital seniors to the very frail.
  • Creative marketing and fundraising—Forever Young Event and Centenarian Celebration
  • Innovative Health and Wellness Programs
    • Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, Mental Health Clinic
    • Community Garden
    • Mitzvah Food project

Saint Anne’s Senior Community Center

Saint Anne’s Senior Community Center is located in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is a non-profit, and the parent organization is the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia division of Catholic Human Services. Another partner organization is the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. St. Anne’s opened in 1970 and has continuously provided services for 43 years. 

St. Anne’s is open 40 hours per week and has a membership of 310 seniors. The average daily census is 51. Community partnerships are strong and include municipalities, hospitals, home health agencies, pharmacies, pharmacies, podiatry, AARP, legal services, and universities.

The center has five full time staff members, one part time staff member, and two subsidized older workers. Seventy-five volunteers assist the staff in a variety of ways. St. Anne’s offers congregate meals, transportation, caregiver education, health and wellness programs, counseling, benefit assistance, and a variety of recreational and educational enrichment opportunities, financial assistance, and nutrition assistance.

The peer reviewer noted the following strengths: 

  • Strong support of parent organization
  • Spirit of the center is amazing
  • Experienced, talented, creative staff and committed volunteers
  • Marketing plan is a good working document
  • Human Resources—personnel policies and job descriptions are comprehensive
  • Program—good working relationship with volunteers and participants, staff open to suggestions
  • Comprehensive Evaluation Plan
  • Facility is orderly and clean

NISC offers the only National Senior Center Accreditation Program. Accreditation provides official recognition that a senior center meets the nine national standards of senior center operations. Assess your center through the National Standards and workbook and then pursue National Senior Center Accreditation. The manual and self-assessment notebook are a NISC member benefit.    

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