Congratulations to the Callahan Senior Center in Framingham, MA and the Raleigh County Commission on Aging, Inc. in Beckley, West Virginia for achieving National Senior Center Accreditation on October 28, 2016.
The Raymond J. Callahan Center, know colloquially as the Callahan Center, is found in a 25,000 square foot facility in Framingham, MA, a suburban town found halfway between Boston and Worcester. It serves as a multi-purpose facility for people 55 and older, offering a range of exercise and recreational programs that are offered for little or no cost.
The average daily attendance fluctuates between 100 and 200 individuals. The Social Services staff also connects with between 130 and 200 individuals via phone, emails and in-person contact.
The Center routinely provides a comprehensive menu of on-site activities and events. Programming includes recreational, educational, wellness, social services and outreach, volunteer programming and community service opportunities.
The Peer Reviewer observed many strengths of Callahan Senior Center. These included:
- A dedicated, experienced staff
- An attractive, well-furnished and maintained facility
- Impressive list of community partners that allow the Center to offer additional programs such as “A Matter of Balance”
- Willingness to experiment – expanded summer hours
- Excellent written materials
- The brochure, which features pull out sections that can be easily replaced if programs are added or subtracted
- Callahan Courier, the program brochure. Very attractive and eye-catching cover and easy-to-read layout
- Strong intergenerational programming – for example, the Jewels of Framingham event honoring those aged 90+ and staff with high school students
- Strong volunteer program, with well-developed job descriptions
- Use of bilingual staff and volunteers
- Heritage Gallery, which displays art created by local artisans
- Well done Policies and Procedures Manual
Raleigh County Commission on Aging is located in the small city of Beckley, West Virginia. Beckley’s 2010 Census reported a population of 17,614. The County Commission on Aging serves all of Raleigh County; with a total population of 78,859. It is a non-profit organization, governed by a twelve member Board of Directors.
Beckley Center averages 150 participants per day. In addition, there are five satellite nutrition sites that each averages another 15 to 40 participants per day.
The Center provides activities such as exercise, medical monitoring, arts and crafts, guest speakers, and fellowship. They also provide services such as the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program coupon registration, The Golden Mountaineer Card registration, line dancing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:30, and numerous other activities and services.
The Peer Reviewer observed many strengths of the Raleigh County Commission on Aging, Inc. These included:
- Longevity and commitment of staff (at all levels within the entire organization).
- Community relationships and collaborations are well developed.
- Diversity of services available to the 60+ population throughout Raleigh County.
- Stable resources with a growing population to serve.
- On-site Adult Day Center is an asset and much needed in the County.
The Raleigh County Commission on Aging’s Self-Assessment Committee shared what stood out to them as to what they learned about the RCCOA during this self-assessment process. Their comments included:
- The impact that both the home delivered and congregate meal program has on participants
- The strength of the Board and their credibility throughout the County
- The self-directed team facilitating the West Virginia/American History discussions and tours
- The number of people in the community accessing the fitness center
- The importance of the Adult Day program to families and the participants (one of the self-assessment members has her father in the program 3 days per week)
- The size of the volunteer base that assists in providing activities and services
- The level of involvement of RCCOA with the Raleigh County Emergency Management plan.
Educate a core community group on the benefits of your center while strengthening its administration. Position your senior center for success in your community through the NISC National Senior Center Accreditation process. Visit www.ncoa.org/national-institute-of-senior-centers/standards-accreditation to learn more.