Hoover Senior Center first in state to achieve accreditation

HOOVER – Seniors, city officials and others gathered at the Hoover Senior Center on Tuesday, June 19, to celebrate the facility being the first of its kind in Alabama to be accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers, a partner of the National Council on Aging.

NISC offers the nation’s only National Senior Center Accreditation Program.

“It took more than a year to achieve the accreditation, and it would not have been possible without our incredible committee of business professionals, staff and senior center volunteers,” said Dana Stewart, Hoover Senior Center manager. “There are an estimated 11,000 senior centers in the United States, and approximately only 115 are NISC accredited. We are thrilled to be the first in Alabama!”

Achieving accreditation requires meeting standards of excellence and assures the senior center members that the center has been independently evaluated establishes the center as a leader in positive aging. It also recognizes senior centers as professionally managed, relevant and a provider of vital resources for older adults.

The accreditation process included submission of a 10-pound manual that was sent to peer reviewers around the country prior to being sent to the NISC Board, and an onsite visit that included a tour as well as interviews with committee members and representatives who volunteer for and or use the center, Stewart said and added that the process took about two years to complete.

The senior center will apply for reaccreditation in five years.

Mary Ann Ostrye, nutrition program director for the Alabama Department of Senior Services, said achieving accreditation sets an example for other centers.

“Hoover clearly strives to offer a model of excellence,” Ostrye said.

Since February 2007, the Hoover Senior Center has existed as a partnership to serve and empower senior adults by providing opportunities that promote quality of life through social engagement, physical well-being, community involvement, creativity and life-long learning.

The center serves about 1,500 members a day.

“We’re really proud of this facility and what it means to our community,” Mayor Frank Brocato said.

The center is open to Hoover residents age 55 and older. The annual membership fee is $10, and membership includes access to the senior center and the Hoover Recreation Center indoor track.

The senior center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and features a multi-use auditorium, kitchen, computer lab, billiard and ping pong room, sun room overlooking the city and rooms for arts and crafts.

For more information, visit HooverAlabama.gov and follow Hoover Senior Center on Facebook (@HooverNewHorizons).

Stewart said the center will continue to strive to benefit the community.

“This is obviously just the beginning, and our story is just getting started,” she said.