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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

Sylvania Senior Center earns national accreditation

BLADE STAFF

The Sylvania Senior Center recently became just the 189th center of its kind to be accredited by a national organization, and it is throwing a party next week to celebrate that achievement.

The accreditation was announced by the National Institute of Senior Centers, a unit of the National Council on Aging, which examined the Sylvania center's structure, planning, and performance in nine standards: purpose, community collaboration, program planning, evaluation, financial management, governance, administration/human resources, record keeping, and facility.

"Being nationally accredited is quite an accomplishment," Julie Graf, the Sylvania Senior Center's director, said. "It makes a significant statement to our staff, board, participants, community, and funders that we offer quality programs and provide them in a comfortable setting and with accountability. We are very proud to have a team that took on this challenge and accomplished it."

"Our award-winning senior center is an asset to the Sylvania community," Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said. "The center improves the quality of life for our senior citizens, while at the same time making our community more desirable and keeping our property values higher."

Local dignitaries have been invited to attend the accreditation celebration on Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. at the senior center, 7140 Sylvania Ave.

Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and may be made by contacting Kelly Willets at kwillets@sev.org or by calling 419-885-3913.

According to NISC, accreditation is a 6 to 12-month process that starts with a "community self-assessment," in which institute staff interview senior-center directors, staff, and participants as well as local community members. That is followed up by an on-site review conducted by a certified peer reviewer.

Accreditations are valid for five years. In the Toledo area, the Wood County Senior Center and Maumee Senior Center also are accredited by NISC, according to that organization's Web site.

Sylvania's accreditation announcement occurs as the center seeks renewal of its 0.32-mill operating levy, which has been in effect for two five-year terms in Sylvania city and township.

Senior-center programming includes health-and-wellness activities, educational programs, recreation, supportive services, and outreach.

The senior center moved into its home, built at city and township expense, in 2002 after operating for the first 24 of its 32 years in the old Burnham Building.

Agency staff estimate the senior center serves about 250 people per day, out of nearly 3,000 who use its facilities or programs overall.

Ms. Graf said that along with the center's paid staff, the center benefits from volunteer workers whose hours are equivalent to 10 full-time positions.



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