Meet 5 Newly Accredited Centers
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Meet 5 Newly Accredited Centers

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February 14, 2013

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Congratulations to our five newly accredited senior centers!

In January, five senior centers were accredited for a period of five years (Jan. 31, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2018)—four from the City of Albuquerque and Vesper Hall 50-plus Community Center of Blue Springs, MO. 

Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs

The Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs has a total of eight senior centers. They are in the process of having them all accredited. They completed their first phase with the accreditation of four centers, the Los Volcanes Senior Center, Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, North Valley Senior Center, and the Palo Duro Senior Center.

Albuquerque's 50+ population enjoys sports and recreation activities, the arts, unlimited learning opportunities, trips and outings, meals, special events, and support groups at any of the metro area's senior centers. 

Educational and social activities include: computing, health management, musical concerts, lectures, theater, pottery, breakfast, lunch, and support groups. Recreational and sports activities include hiking, downhill skiing, aerobics, and a range of other indoor and outdoor sports and fitness opportunities.

Persons 50 years and older may become center members for $13 a year, and memberships are valid at all six senior centers and Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, as well as Palo Duro Senior Sports and Fitness Center and Los Volcanes 50+ Fitness Center.

The strength of each center was noted by peer reviewers. These include:

Palo Duro Senior Center:

  • Providing a full-scale fitness center with high-quality and varied equipment and professional staff to support it.
  • Creating a program that focuses on the strengths and assets of what people 50+ can do rather than focusing on their deficits.
  • Opening the building one night a week until 9 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Maintaining a store with such high-quality craft items made by the membership that its reputation brings people from outside of the center inside to buy their products.
  • Maintaining a separate checking account for the store so that funds collected outside of the city funding stream have a place to be deposited and can be used for items that the city budget cannot provide.
  • Locating the center with other services adjacent to it and incorporating walking and bike paths that go right by the center.
  • Utilizing a set of well thought out research guidelines.

Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center:

  • An intergenerational program that integrates the multiple generations in several active activities that are positive experiences.
  • Utilizing one building effectively and efficiently for 76 hours per week, which serves all ages six and older.
  • Recruitment of highly proficient volunteer teachers who make the center the place to go.
  • Maintaining a full fitness center inside the building.
  • Working with the Humane Society and bringing “Senior Dogs & Cats” to the center and seeking adoption by seniors.
  • Creating multiple volunteer opportunities outside of the center, including Airport Greeters, Dog Walkers, and working at the Veterans Museum.

North Valley Senior Center:

  • Well-qualified and passionate staff that is suited to both the role and to the community.
  • Strong, clear administrative structure through Department of Senior Affairs to Center. 
  • Good use of self-assessment process to increase cooperation and teamwork between centers and other divisions.
  • Clear focus on mission and on meeting the needs of the community with planning tied to budget.
  • Good marketing materials, clear and established position in the community, good collaborative partnerships.
  • Good access to information and referral through Division of Social Services.
  • Beautiful facility with attention to aesthetics.

Los Volcanes Senior Center:

  • Well-qualified and passionate staff that is suited to both the role and to the community.
  • The center manager is clearly valued both within the center and the department.
  • Strong engagement and support throughout the DSA. 
  • Good use of self-assessment process to increase cooperation and teamwork between centers and other divisions.
  • Clear focus on mission and on meeting the needs of the community with planning tied to budget.
  • Good marketing materials, including both city-wide catalogs and center-specific newsletter, clear and established position in the community, good collaborative partnerships.
  • Good access to information and referral through Division of Social Services.
  • Beautiful facility with attention to aesthetics. 
  • Collocation with child and adult day centers, as well as a fitness center that provides a nice compendium of opportunities.

Vesper Hall 50-Plus Community Center

The center is located in Blue Springs, MO, and is municipally owned and operated by the city. It is one of the fastest-growing suburban communities in the Kansas City metro area. Vesper Hall 50-Plus Community Center is 19 years old and serves over 5,000 seniors a year. There are three full-time employees and nine part-time. Vesper Hall is a viable community asset that is recognized in its community for its programs and high standard of service. 

Some of the strengths include:

  • Staff and site council maintain a very positive attitude.
  • Site council and staff feel the city is very supportive of them.
  • They have organized and thorough operations manual and documents.
  • The center has an excellent marketing plan and marketing of programs and services.  
  • The facility is extremely well-maintained and utilized to capacity. The personal atmosphere is also very warm and welcoming.
  • Despite not having a formal Information and Referral staff member, they have compensated with an excellent, well-maintained, updated “I &R” Guide that all staff are well versed in using. The “I&R” Guide is available for review by anyone, and staff readily provide one-on-one assistance, copies, and referrals as needed.
  • There is an excellent volunteer program and Volunteer Handbook.
  • They actively seek participant input with class and program evaluations and through the use of participant comment cards.
  • The center is very reflective of its community. Even though there are 11 other senior centers in the vicinity, they work extremely well with community members, they are very participant driven, and have a very active, committed, and engaged site council.

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