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Rufty-Holmes Senior Center’s accreditation renewed

Board taking applications for next director

SALISBURY —  The first senior center in the state to be accredited has won accreditation again.

The National Institute of Senior Centers has renewed full accreditation status for Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, effective Dec. 29.

First accredited in 2001, the center was granted renewal in 2006 and 2011 before undergoing its fourth review this fall. Rufty-Holmes is one of only three senior centers in the nation to be accredited four consecutive times.

Elizabeth Bernat, executive director of the Low Country Senior Center in Charleston, S.C., served as the on-site peer reviewer, visiting Rufty-Holmes over a two-day period in early December. An off-site review of materials was conducted by Sally Hill of the Anacortes Senior Center in Anacortes, Wash. Their report and recommendation was acted upon by the National Accreditation Board on Thursday.

The National Accreditation Board commended the center on fulfilling its mission in a professional manner, citing

  • A strong and very impressive strategic planning process.
  • An involved and committed Board of Directors and governance structure.
  • Excellent community support and collaborations, including strong support from county and city government.
  • Excellent methods of recognizing donors, volunteers, sponsors and key supporters.
  • A diverse offering of programs, activities and services which emphasize wellness.
  • Administration and human resources that adhere to standards of excellence.
  • Thorough fiscal and asset management policies and practices.
  • Thorough and complete reporting processes, including a high level of transparency in operations.
  • An attractive and well-maintained facility.

The center’s development and use of succession planning was cited as a “best practice.”

The peer reviewer indicated that due to the center’s established systems and structures in place, it was difficult to identify areas for improvement. She did recommend, however, that the center consider designating a single staff person to manage volunteer and civic engagement activities, use additional volunteers in administrative roles, expand the number of programs that are evaluated, and invest in website and social media upgrades which would better reflect “the high energy, positive vibe that is experienced by those coming to the center.”

As part of the process leading up to the accreditation review, the center conducted a self-assessment involving a committee made up of board members, staff, center volunteers and participants and community representatives. The committee met for nine months, conducting a comprehensive review of the national standards, and evaluating the Center’s compliance with them.

The self-assessment educated board members, staff and volunteers on the multi-faceted operation of the senior center, and will provide good data for developing the center’s new strategic plan for 2018-2022.

Rick Eldridge, executive Director of Rufty-Holmes, has provided the leadership for each of the center’s four accreditation reviews. Eldridge will be retiring in June of 2017 with 30 years of service. The Board of Directors is accepting applications to fill his position through Jan. 16. Additional information about the position and applying can be found at http://www.ruftyholmes.org/Executive Director.htm

Rufty-Holmes Senior Center serves as the county’s aging resource center, providing community-based programs and services that promote independent living and enrich the quality of life for local senior adults.

The center is a member agency of the Rowan County United Way; and is supported by federal, state and local government funds; foundation grants; business partnerships; fees for service; and private contributions. For more information on Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, go to www.ruftyholmes.org or visit its location at 1120 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in Salisbury.

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