The Florence R. Goldmann Award is conferred annually upon a FASC member organization for distinguished service by a Senior Center.
To quote Jack “Jay” K. Morgan, “When you’ve seen one senior center, you’ve seen one senior center.” This is certainly true of this year’s applicants. Center budgets ranged from $163 thousand to $5 million and member participation ranging from 52 to 300 people per day. Services provided ranged from a simple information and referral office to a full-on medical clinic.
There were eight wonderful applicants for the award this year making it a tough decision for the judges. Ultimately, one center stood out because it demonstrated that it has heart, compassion and an understanding of the needs of the seniors in its community – and let no limitations stand in its way of seeking to meet those needs! It was “the little center that could”.
Those of us who work in senior centers know that the bells and whistles are excellent to have. Ultimately, however, it’s the heart and compassion of the team at each center that makes it so special to its participants. This center demonstrated this so well.
This year’s Flo Goldmann Award winner is the Lakeland Activity Center for Seniors in Lakeland, Florida. This center, supported by Catholic Charities of Central Florida, states a majority of its participants are “75 years young” and have an income lower than $14,000 per year. The center has grown in the past five years from a basic congregate dining site to a well-rounded calendar of activities focusing on health and wellness. From a nearly empty center in the afternoons to ones filled with line dancing, Scrabble, Art, Tai Chi, exercise and more, the staff has shown they know what people want and are committed to providing those activities. Because of this increase in programming, staff has noticed younger and more active seniors in a higher income demographic are now attending. Recognizing that isolation is a breeding ground for depression and the overall poor health that follows, the center initiated a Volunteer Visiting program where the volunteer visits shut-ins. This not only allows for companionship for lonely seniors, but provides a meaning and purpose to the life of the volunteer as well. We noticed their technology classes were unusual as well as they provided training in using web cameras, SKYPE, and other social media. Another feature at this center is a visiting nutritionist who helps provide tips on good nutrition and cooking for singles. This is paired with a food bank to supply that delicious produce.
Our judges are confident that this “little center that can” is a spirit-filled, compassionate and responsive center that exemplifies good practices in senior center management and so is quite deserving of the Florence R. Goldmann Award in 2017.
Posts written by FASC Leadership Team and compiled from other websites.