Meet Four Newly Accredited Centers
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Meet Four Newly Accredited Centers

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July 9, 2013

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Congratulations to the following four senior centers that recently earned National Senior Center Accreditation.

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.

Upper Darby Senior Center

This center is located in an urban suburb of Philadelphia. It is owned and operated by Upper Darby Township, which provides 55% of the operating funding; 45% comes from the County Office for Services to the Aging. 

There are over 400 participants registered, with an average daily attendance of 76. Participants are aged 60+. 

Six days a week, older adults participate in a myriad of programs, including line dancing, bingo, crafts, card games, ping pong, tai chai, and walking activities. There are also a full-size fitness room, pool room, and gymnasium on the premises, as well as a computer lab, outside garden, and hairdressing salon.

Services offered include legal assistance, medical information, and housing opportunities. Special events such as field trips and health fairs take place, and each year the center hosts several of the Delaware County Senior Games events.

Some of Upper Darby Senior Center’s strengths as noted by the peer reviewer include:

  • Excellent SWOT analysis and well-utilized mission statement.
  • Many community resources engaged and plans for expanded marketing.
  • Fine program and financial support by Upper Darby Township and County Office for Services for the Aging.
  • Excellent Volunteer Handbook.
  • Remarkable diversity in program delivery: evenings, weekends, off-site, collaborations.
  • Green House Project: Model for volunteerism, community engagement, healthy additions to diet, and nutrition education.
  • Great variety of evaluation measures.
  • Good transportation systems.

Senior Center, Inc.

Senior Center, Inc. is located in Albermarle County, VA, just over the county line from the city of Charlottesville. 

It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community center that has never received local, state, or federal government funding. The majority of its revenue comes from philanthropy. Membership dues, program fees, rental income, newsletter advertising, and other miscellaneous earned income account for the remainder. 

Last year, they had over 2,300 individuals use the center, with an average attendance of 115 participants a day. Membership is open to anyone aged 50 and better.

Senior Center, Inc. creates opportunities for healthy aging through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity, and lifelong learning. They offer diverse programming and partner with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia to provide additional offerings. The activities have clever names that inspire participation (e.g. Retreads Softball, Socrates’ Café, and Singles’ Schmooze). 

The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 4:30 p.m. with additional hours offered on Tuesday through Thursday evenings (8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (2:00-6:00 p.m.). 

Some of Senior Center, Inc.'s strengths as noted by the peer reviewer include:

  • The staff is well qualified and dedicated.
  • There are excellent connections and partnerships with a diverse group of community organizations from the University of Virginia, for-profits, chronic disease groups, and nonprofits.
  • The Center Councils is an active, vital, and well-functioning group serving both to advise and provide a conduit for information.
  • Members and volunteers are valued for their contributions and this is shown in many ways, including a volunteer included in interviews for a new staff person.  
  • Truly outstanding variety in program options and diversity of partners in delivering programs. The travel program is a model program.
  • They are fiscally responsible with a diversified funding stream and always looking at ways to improve.
  • They have used the building creatively and ingeniously to meet their needs.
  • The annual report and new member welcome packet are very informative and attractively done, showing that professionalism is evident in everything they do.

Wayne Senior Center

Wayne Senior Center is operated by Main Line Senior Services, Inc. It was established in 1975 and has 501(c)3 status. 

The center is located in Radnor Township, a suburb of Philadelphia, 25 miles northwest of the city. The 5,000 square foot center is located in the business area on an island in the middle of a municipal parking lot, 200 feet from the train station. 

Last year, the center served 1,165 individuals with a daily attendance of 50 to 85 older adults. Approximately one-fourth of funding comes from the County Office of Services for the Aging and one-fourth from Radnor Township. The other half comes from fees, rental income, café income, and fundraising.

The range of programming includes exercise classes (land and water based), fitness center, computer lessons, tai chi, yoga, trips, piano lessons, entitlement access, and a hot lunch.   

Some of Wayne Senior Center strengths as noted by the peer reviewer include:

  • Center atmosphere is welcoming and staff morale is very good.
  • Staff and Board leadership is outstanding.
  • Conflict of Interest Statement is very comprehensive.
  • The need for succession planning has been recognized and the Board has started to work on a plan.
  • Menu for takeout meals provides many choices.
  • Satisfaction surveys are routine and results are key for program planning.

Generations of Indian Valley

Generations of Indian Valley is a private 501(c)3 organization located in Souderton, PA, a suburban community 30 miles outside of Philadelphia. The center has 3,617 participants, with an average daily attendance of 175.

One-third of the operating budget is provided by Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services. The North Penn United Way has traditionally been the second largest funding source. Facility rentals, fundraising, special grants, and community contributions combine to meet the remaining budget requirements.

The center’s program offerings are varied with many focusing on health and wellness. Additional programs include bridge, bingo, billiard tournaments, financial counseling, choral group, music lessons, memoir writing, painting, computer lessons, veterans counseling, congregate meals, home-delivered meals, shuffleboard, gardening, and day trips. 

The center has recently started a popular monthly series called Spirit Journey. The classes are offered in the evening in the café and are a popular series with boomers. The center is open three evenings a week and on weekends for special programs. 

Some of Generations of Indian Valley's strengths as noted by the peer reviewer include:

  • Impressive Board and staff leadership and commitment.
  • The Executive Director sets the welcoming tone at the center as he warmly greets seniors as he meets them in the facility.
  • Attractive facility that promotes warmth, friendliness, and engagement. Staff and volunteers are very proud of their center. The gorgeous landscaping surrounding the facility is maintained by volunteers. The volunteer commitment at this center is extraordinary.
  • Website and Facebook page are very inviting.
  • Members enjoy their center and are committed to quality improvement.
  • Staff provides ongoing feedback to members regarding the results of program evaluation.
  • Seniors play a key role in program development.
  • Board has endorsed a Development Plan proposed by a consultant subsequent to her study.

A few comments from Self-Assessment Committees involved in this month’s accreditations:

  • Board members felt that the self-assessment process was valuable and led them to embark on a new strategic plan. 
  • They felt that the planning process was informative and provided them with a better understanding of all of the programs and services provided by the center.
  • The self-assessment process helped identify gaps in service.
  • For one of the staff, it helped him see how his job responsibilities fit into the big picture.

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