Three senior centers achieve National Accreditation in April

Congratulations to the three senior centers that achieved National Senior Center Accreditation in April 2018.  Of our newly accredited centers, two are from Prince William County Area Agency on Aging, Manassas Senior Center and Woodbridge Senior Center. The third senior accredited center is the Wallingford Senior Center.

The Prince William County Area Agency on Aging serves older adults, their families and caregivers in the tri-jurisdictional area of Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. The county is governed by Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) who works with the Commission on Aging regarding issues related to older adults.

The AAA has two senior center locations at Manassas and Woodbridge. Senior centers are open weekdays for a wide variety of classes, programs and activities. Membership is open to persons 55 years of age and older and their spouses, regardless of age. ​

The peer reviewer noted that the relationship with the AAA is strong as exemplified by the full-day participation during the on-site review, by the Director and the Division Manager as well as the day-to-day support that is given to the Center.

Manassas Senior Center

The Manassas Senior Center was first opened in 1979 and moved to its current location in 1986 and renovated in 2016 to include a new fitness center. This Center is within walking distance of other county supportive services including the Social Security Administration and the Veteran’s Affairs.  The Center is also walking distance to lovely downtown Manassas.

The center is opened 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday. The onsite reviewer noted that participants enjoy large exercise classes, large music experiences or smaller art or contemplative groups. The center participants focus on health and wellness programs and programming includes a Belly Dancing class. During the year, 769 persons are served through the center with a daily average of 132 and total annual visits of 21,734.

The peer reviewer noted the following strengths of the center:

  • Good job presenting the Center through the accreditation binder, very detailed and complete.
  • The staff were shown to be dedicated and hard-working in support of the mission and the participants.
  • Programming is diverse, with an emphasis on health and wellness.
  • The relationship with the AAA is strong.
  • Supportive Friends of the Manassas Senior Center group utilizing many committees and volunteers.
  • Mission statement is clear and concise.
  • Well-written and detailed annual report.
  • Excellent Continuity of Operations Plan.
  • Wonderful YouTube videos (30th Anniversary, organic food garden, groundbreaking for expansion) created by the County to highlight the Center and posted on the community site for the county.
  • Great facility.  Appropriate space for socializing and classes both small and large. Wonderful new fitness center space.
  • Great kitchen garden to support the health and wellness emphasis.
  • Friends group assisted in getting grant for LOOP system, which magnetically transmits sound to hearing aids.

Woodbridge Senior Center

The Woodbridge Senior Center was opened in 1983 in its current location and renovated in 2002 to provide 10,000 square feet for programs and services.  The center is opened 9:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday. The reviewer noted: Woodbridge Senior Center enjoys a very good building to provide a variety of activities simultaneously. The café space can be opened by using a movable wall to allow for events up to 125 participants. During the year, 577 persons are served through the center with a daily average of 132 and total annual visits of 23,465.

The peer reviewer noted these strengths of the center:

  • Good job presenting the Center through the accreditation binder, very detailed and complete.
  • The staff were shown to be dedicated and hard-working in support of the mission and the participants.
  • Programming is diverse, with an emphasis on health and wellness.
  • The relationship with the AAA is strong.
  • Supportive Friends of the Woodbridge Senior Center group.
  • Well-written and detailed annual report.
  • Mission statement is clear and concise.
  • Excellent Continuity of Operations Plan
  • Wonderful YouTube videos (about the centers, 30th Anniversary) created by the County to highlight the Center and posted on the community site for the county.
  • Good facility!  Appropriate space for socializing and classes both small and large.

Wallingford Senior Center

This is Wallingford Senior Center’s third national accreditation. It is a multi-purpose facility, which was designated in 1977 by the South-Central Connecticut Agency on Aging as a focal point to provide services, program, information assistance, nutrition, recreation, education, transportation and referrals for health, employment housing and finances. The 20,000-square foot facility was constructed with town funding and opened in June 2001. The center is operated under the Wallingford Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCOA), a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit corporation which is the governing body of the Wallingford Senior Center.  WCOA is composed of a fifteen-member volunteer Board of Directors including members of the community, local business people (three of whom are Wallingford Town Council appointees). WCOA meets the third Friday of each month to review senior center operations, set policies and provide long-range planning for continuing programs and services.

Wallingford is a suburban town along interstate 91 approximately half way between New Haven and Hartford, CT with a population of about 45,000. The reviewer noted: The senior center is very well designed specifically for this purpose and has great storage, landscaping, rooms all used for programs and a great room which has multi use capabilities.  The center, which is located centrally in Wallingford, has a lovely little lake behind the center along with a butterfly garden and trail. The current membership is about 4,200 with an average of 250 members visiting daily.

The peer reviewer noted the following strengths of the senior center:

  • A great variety of programs delivered by an efficient, caring and welcoming staff.
  • Great long-term leadership and staff
  • Wonderful collaborations with community agencies as well as Town of Wallingford
  • Impressive new Fitness area, Club 60 Plus
  • A beautiful and well utilized center with lots of windows and light, lovely grounds, trail, butterfly garden and trail.
  • Lake View Café and menu options
  • Thursday evening event – The center features Thursday evening dinners and dancing from April-October and one Thursday a month through the winter months
  • The new Veterans Coffee House support group that includes a presentation and discussion
  • New Parkinson’s support group that includes exercise and a punching bag

The Wallingford Self-Assessment Committee which included three Board members, three staff, three participants and three community members, indicated they learned many things that the center does, that they did not realize, while completing the process.  Educate your board and members through the self-assessment process. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center.  Learn more about National Senior Center Accreditation.