The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center is pleased to announce their accreditation by the National Institute of Senior Centers. This recognition validates that The Center is meeting its mission in a nationally-accepted, professional manner. Moreover, it demonstrates the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center’s outstanding commitment to provide quality programs and services for older adults.

The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center WPSCC, also known throughout the community as The WOW of West Philadelphia for their energetic spirit and vivacity, is a beloved neighborhood hub for adults ages 50 and better. Offering a wide array of activities, The Center gives members opportunities that benefit their body, mind, and spirit through classes, clubs, educational programs, transportation assistance and more.

West Philadelphia Senior Community Center Zumba Class
Members at WPSCC dancing in Zumba class!

Enter The Center’s doors and you’ll immediately see smiling faces of people who feel fulfilled, active, and excited for each and every day. Why are members so full of life and optimism? The Center’s vibrancy speaks for itself; simply walk through The Center and you’ll understand. As Zumba class happens down the hall from cooking, right alongside pottery, sewing, and beyond, The Center’s dedication to providing activities that fill members with joy and make them feel connected to their community is clear, not to mention the free hot lunch for adults ages 60 and better.

Senior Center Accreditation: What it means and why it’s important

The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center has been accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). Dedicated to advancing the quality of senior centers throughout the country, the NISC developed their accreditation program with nine standards of excellence that senior centers must uphold to earn recognition and receive this honor. First developed in 1978 with ongoing revisions, each standard has a principle, rationale, and criteria that if demonstrated after official assessment and review, will earn senior centers their accreditation.

The nine standards of excellence are

  1. Purpose
  2. Community
  3. Governance
  4. Administration and Human Resources
  5. Program Planning
  6. Evaluation
  7. Fiscal Management
  8. Records and Reports
  9. Facility

WPSCC’s newly-earned accreditation means they successfully uphold these nine exacting standards.

NISC accreditation badge

What is the process for earning accreditation? What did WPSCC have to do?

Steps to Accreditation:

  1. Self-Assessment
  2. Peer Review Site Visit
  3. Accreditation Board Meeting

For senior centers looking to earn accreditation, upholding the nine standards of excellence is only half the journey. Earning accreditation requires many steps.

Self-Assessment

To earn accreditation all senior centers must form a committee and complete a self-assessment. The senior center then evaluates its level of compliance to the national standards and completes any tasks to bring it into compliance.

Peer Review Site Visit

After the senior center evaluates their level of compliance, they prepare a Document Review Notebook with relevant information and send it to the NISC Program Manager at NCOA headquarters. The program manager then recruits on-site and off-site peer reviewers who are sent copies of the Document Review Notebook. The on-site peer reviewer arranges a scheduled visit to the senior center and writes a report in consultation with the off-site reviewer. The peer reviewers then make their recommendation relative to the accreditation status of the senior center.

Accreditation Board Meeting

Once the recommendation is made, the Accreditation Board meets and reviews the reports. After the meeting is adjourned the senior center will receive official notification of whether or not they’ve earned accreditation.

Peer Reviewers recognize WPSCC as welcoming, lively, and entertaining!

WPSCC fashion show
WPSCC members walk the runway for annual sewing class fashion show

When the WPSCC received their official letter of accreditation, the Peer Reviewer recognized The Center for various strengths including:

  • A strong connection to the community with a variety of partners who actively provide and support programming
  • Outstanding participation from staff in community committees and organizations
  • Active support from The Advisory Council that includes two community members
  • A well-qualified staff with longevity in positions
  • Dynamic and creative leadership from The Center’s director
  • A diverse array of activities, many of them led by volunteers
  • A great use of space that creates a welcoming, lively, and entertaining atmosphere

 

The Benefits of WPSCC’s Accreditation

Accreditation for all senior centers is certainly a badge of honor, but to the WPSCC it means much more than a simple recognition. Thanks to accreditation, the WPSCC will:

  • Improve and strengthen The Center’s overall operations
  • Connect more with the entire community through self-assessment
  • Develop strategic plans for the future of their center and community
  • Establish themselves as a leader in positive aging

 

The benefits accreditation brings to The Center are plentiful, and this recognition will continue to help the WPSCC fulfill their important mission to provide new and engaging activities that support members’ health and well-being and keep them connected to their community. At The WOW of West Philadelphia, the joy of opportunity and possibility continue to grow. If you’d like to learn more about The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, visit our website here or follow our page on Facebook!

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