The Garland Senior Center has again been recognized as a Center of Excellence following an arduous evaluation process, a distinction that makes them eligible for additional state funding.
The center’s staff recently completed the Senior Center Operations and Program Evaluation and was re-certified as a Center of Excellence, Lorie Sutton, director of the Department of Aging, told the Board of Commissioners. Center director Marie Faircloth and her staff prepared for the re-certification effort for the past several months, sometimes into the late hours.
The board congratulated the staff on their accomplishments and presented the framed Center of Excellence certificate to them this week.
“It was kind of an arduous task,” said Sutton. “It was a 51-page document and they had to go back five years and document all the outreach, activities and the special occasions.”
She applauded Faircloth for spearheading those efforts.
“She is busy all the time keeping our seniors active, so we’re very proud of her and the staff,” said Sutton, who also recognized Nutrition Program manager Linda Armwood. “We do this work for our seniors in Garland, and we couldn’t do it without our staff and volunteers. They work really hard and we’re really proud of their accomplishments.”
Faircloth agreed the process was arduous to say the least. She lauded her staff for their diligence and dedication in completing it.
“I’m glad it’s over. It was a bear,” Faircloth said with a laugh. “We had fun doing it. We worked day and night. Some days we would go to work at 7 in the morning and go home at 3 in the morning.”
She thanked Armwood, as well as all her volunteers and “helpers.”
“We’re happy,” said Faircloth. “We’re happy to serve our seniors.”
As part of the time-consuming process, the center staff must document five years’ work on an instrument called the scope tool, which measures six areas: information and referral; activities and opportunities for volunteers; planning, evaluation, and input from older adults; staff and training; other operational issues; and the extra mile.
As part of the re-certification process, the center was subject to a site visit by a team made up of N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services (NCDAAS) staff, Mid-Carolina staff, a Senior Tarheel delegate and other Senior Center managers, which is preceded by desk reviews by Mid-Carolina and NCDAAS staff.
“We really appreciate all the hard work,” said Chairman Billy Lockamy, who praised the volunteers at the senior center as well as those across the county. Commissioner Harry Parker, whose district encompasses Garland, echoed that sentiment while offering special thanks to Faircloth.
“I appreciate you Marie and I appreciate your continued support of that center,” said Parker.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.