Congratulations to four senior centers from Albuquerque, NM and one from Duxbury, MA who achieved National Senior Center Accreditation in October 2020.

City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs

Six senior center and two multi-generational centers of the City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs maintain national accreditation status. This is the second accreditation for the following four Albuquerque sites. The remaining four sites completed their second accreditation in 2018.

The peer reviewers noted the following strengths because of the support of the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs:  

  • Detailed and well-written planning document sets out clear goals and objectives for the Department of Senior Affairs and its senior centers.
  • The centers receive great support from the Department of Senior Affairs and city administration.
  • The Quick Guide to Senior Services is a great referral guide for the senior community in Albuquerque.

Barelas Senior Center

Barelas Senior Center is a multicultural and intergenerational center, taking pride on its cultural diversity and creative programming. Offices for Case Management, and Kinship are program are housed at the Barelas Senior Center. The Senior Companion program is also located at this center, allowing for increased opportunities to volunteer or to search for someone to provide assistance for seniors living at home.

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the Barelas Senior Center:

  • Staff is professional, friendly and work cohesively as a group.
  • Staff and volunteers remain available onsite, despite the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
  • Activities and services remain available with modifications to ensure that participants are continuing to receive services and support while the center remains closed due to COVID.
  • Additional services and staff are available at Barelas, including the Senior Companion program and Case Management.
  • Volunteers are utilized as exercise instructors, front desk receptionists, program leaders, health and wellness facilitators, data entry specialists, custodial aides and van drivers.
  • Information and Assistance program is provided onsite.
  • Site specific programs are diverse and members have the option to easily attend programs in the other five senior centers or two multi-generational centers with their membership card.
  • Ongoing use of RecTrack to track daily attendance, program participation, and gather important information.

Bear Canyon Senior Center

Bear Canyon Senior Center, located in an urban location in the NE quadrant of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been serving the senior population since October 1, 1986. The facility has a square footage of 19,771 and boasts 5 classrooms, computer lab, billiards room, social room, multi-purpose room, full-service kitchen and 5 administrative offices. A portion of the building is leased to Share Your Care Adult Day Care, a non-profit agency.

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the Bear Canyon Senior Center:

  • The Document Review Notebook was well put together and thorough.
  • The extensive list of community partners boasts well for the center to provide a wide variety of programs, classes and services.
  • The Department of Senior Affairs Advisory Council provides an opportunity for the seniors to have their voices heard.
  • The Friends of Bear Canyon Senior Center group provides great support to the center by sponsoring programs and events, purchasing equipment and materials and volunteering their time to assist in senior center operations.
  • The Manager has a great resume and experience that makes him qualified for the position.
  • The Center has a detailed evaluation plan and has developed surveys that have proven to be useful in the planning process for the center.
  • The center’s volunteer program is excellent. The center has a dedicated volunteer base that is an integral part of the center’s operations.
  • Staff did a great job addressing all our concerns during the visit. They were very flexible and accommodating during the planning and execution of our virtual accreditation visit.

Highland Senior Center

The Highland Senior Center offers a variety of recreational, social, spiritual, and educational programs when open. Due to COVID, classes are on hold, but they are planning on offering a variety of virtual classes and classes that can accessed on TV for those who are not tech savvy.  A sample of the programming includes but is not limited to: arts and crafts, travel, writing classes, exercise classes of all levels, and educational programming. The center provides breakfast and lunch daily, but is currently closed and offering grab and go meals daily.  See the Department of Senior Affair’s current Stay Connected from Home program.

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the Highland Senior Center:

  • Staff and volunteers remain available onsite, despite the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
  • Activities and services remain available with modifications to ensure that participants are continuing to receive services and support while the center remains closed due to COVID.
  • Comprehensive volunteer system coordinated by RSVP. Volunteers are utilized as exercise instructors, front desk receptionists, program leaders, health and wellness facilitators, data entry specialists, custodial aides and van drivers.
  • Site specific programs are diverse and members have the option to easily attend programs in the other five senior centers or two multi-generational centers with their membership card.
  • Ongoing use of RecTrack to track daily attendance, program participation, and gather important information.
  • Staff is professional, friendly and work cohesively as a group.

North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center

North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center is in an urban location in the NE quadrant of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The facility boasts two 2 floors that include classrooms, multi-purpose room, dining room, a gym, and many more amenities. The building is over 40,000 and has an outdoor patio and amphitheater. The building serves the 50 and over community of Albuquerque as well as younger generations in its youth program.

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center:

  • There are many opportunities for intergenerational programming that the Center Manager has taken advantage of and established programming for those opportunities.
  • The North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Centerrepresentative on the Advisory Council provides an opportunity for the seniors of the Center to have their voices heard.
  • The Manager has a great resume and experience that makes her qualified for the position.
  • The Center does a great job to ensure that its senior members and their needs are a priority. That can sometimes be a difficult task at a multigenerational center, but the Center Manager has done a great job at making the seniors feel just as important as the center’s younger generation.
  • The Center has a detailed evaluation plan and has developed surveys that have proven to be useful in the planning process for the center.
  • The Document Review Notebook was well put together and thorough.

Duxbury Senior Center

Duxbury is a coastal town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, located 45 miles south of Boston. It was established in 1637 by prominent settlers, including Miles Standish, William Brewster, and John Alden. It was started as a farming community, and later as a shipbuilding

center. Today it is known for its rural and historical character, and its oyster and shellfish industries. Duxbury had a 2010 population of 15,059, predominately Caucasian citizens; approximately 35 % are over age 60.

The Duxbury Council on Aging was established in 1984, and in 1993 created the senior center. In 1997, a 12,500 SF new building was constructed, and the Friends of the Center raised $300,000 to furnish it. As programs grew, the need for more space became clear, and an addition was completed in 2019. Total size is now 20,000 SF.

This was the third accreditation for the Duxbury Senior Center, but the first undertaken as a virtual process due to the corona virus pandemic that has hit Massachusetts particularly hard. The center was closed in March, but has developed a variety of virtual programs and services.  In recent months, they have also begun a small but growing number of programs on site utilizing strict health precautions such as masks and social distancing, with several programs also offered outside during good weather

The peer reviewer found the following strengths of the Duxbury Senior Center:

  • Amazing leadership and a very strong staff
  • Exemplary Board engagement and involvement in the Center
  • A strong and diverse funding base with a major ongoing commitment from the town
  • An impressive self-assessment exercise process with 33 participants that obviously opened eyes and understanding both about the challenges and opportunities for the center
  • This process also birthed important projects such as a very impressive and attractive annual report, an ongoing commitment to strengthening evaluation, and the creation of a long-range planning committee that is already engaged.
  • The creation of an ambitious action plan detailing tasks, responsibilities and timelines
  • The strong support both financially and in furthering the mission by the Friends group
  • An excellent, wide-ranging array of programs, and services including a number of evidence-based programs that effectively measure positive benefits and outcomes.
  • The Adult Daycare program in the center that is evidence of a commitment to reach out to impaired and struggling seniors
  • A beautiful center recently enhanced by a 4000 SF addition that also hosts a number of meetings by community groups
  • A large core of committed volunteers, including a model self-directed team planning and carrying out lifelong learning programming.
  • A willingness to tackle change, for example, by recruiting a focus group to address the interests and attract Boomers and younger generations.
  • A strong community service and outreach effort that also addresses different populations such as LGBTQ seniors.
  • A commitment to effective and comprehensive tracking of participants though the MySeniorCenter database.
  • The center’s demonstrated resilience and creativity in responding to current very challenging times.

Subsequent accreditation sites can now maintain their accreditation through a virtual site visit process. Explore how you can continue your national accreditation status and prepare for the future by going to the NISC Accreditation page.