Congratulations to the West Ouachita Senior Center, Inc. West Monroe, LA for achieving National Senior Center Accreditation on August 31, 2017.
The West Ouachita Senior Center, Inc. (WOSC), is a 501 © 3 non-profit United Way Agency which was established in 1979. The Senior Center began as a cooperative endeavor between the Ouachita Parish School System and the City of West Monroe to serve as a cooperative focal point where older adults can come together for services and activates which enhance their dignity, support their independence and encourage involvement in and with their community. The WOSC is one of the oldest and most successful Senior Centers in the State of Louisiana.
West Ouachita has a population of almost 13,000. The Ouachita Parish has an estimated 28,000 seniors age 65+. The Center serves 5,644 annually with an average daily attendance of approximately 200.
The Senior Center building is a beautiful 33,000 sq. ft. facility. It is located in a busy part of town, next door to a school, farmers market, recreation center and a gazebo for community activities and concerts.
The Peer Reviewer observed many strengths of West Ouachita Senior Center these included:
- The longevity of the Executive Director is admirable and the reason the Center is so successful. She’s been a true visionary.
- The Accreditation Team was very involved. They developed a beautiful, professionally produced notebook.
- The Center has comprehensive planning and strategic planning documents. Review of strategic planning is regular through an active and engaged Board of Directors and Advisory Committee.
- The Center has a complete and professionally produced Annual Report.
- Each year staff develops an individual Action Plan and reviews their detailed job description to outline goals and objectives. This is a best practice that should be replicated by other Senior Centers.
- The Senior Center staff does a superb job in accessing grants and funding from multiple sources to support, not only the transportation system, but also infrastructure at the senior center and to support programming needed for low income older adults that use the center.
- The superior transportation system provided to older adults is a strong Senior Center asset. Rides are coordinated, especially for those coming a distance, to allow the rider to access multiple needs. For example, during one trip an older adult might attend a doctor’s appointment, go grocery shopping and attend a senior center activity.
- Admirable use of the Older Worker Program to supplement the Senior Centers staffing needs, and to also provide outstanding job training for many older adults who are enrolled in the program.
- The partnership with the University of Louisiana at Monroe is to be commended. Not only do the two organizations support each other, they support older workers, students, research and administrative development of Senior Center policies.
- The role of “External Evaluator” is a vital linkage between the University and the Senior Center and works very well.
- Policies and procedures, along with other Senior Center administrative are comprehensive and encompassing. The Center is extremely well prepared to operate in every circumstance.
City staff people involved in the process learned about the center and got to understand the impact the senior center has on individuals in the community. Educate your City on the value of your Senior Center through the NISC National Senior Center Accreditation process. Visit www.ncoa.org/national-institute-of-senior-centers/standards-accreditation to learn more.