Intercultural Senior Center becomes first senior center in Nebraska to earn national accreditation
Intercultural Senior Center (ISC) has earned accreditation from the National Council on Aging’s National Institute on Senior Centers. ISC becomes one of over 200 accredited senior centers across the country and the first center in the state of Nebraska to earn national recognition.
“This has been a goal of ISC for several years,” says Executive Director Carolina Padilla, who founded ISC in 2009. “It is a rigorous process and reflects the hard work that the board of directors and staff have put into building a strong and resilient organization for diverse older adults.”
ISC submitted documentation for nine standards of excellence, such as governance, fiscal management, and program planning. The accreditation process also included interviews with board members, staff members, ISC participants, and volunteers. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual tours replaced the site visit component of the review.
“We consider this a model program,” says Malia Fox, lead of the NISC accreditation team for ISC. “The individualized personal relationships with and among participants is admirable, with cultures coming together, learning English, making friends, learning each other’s language for conversation.” She added that her favorite quote from the stakeholder interviewers was, “Coming to ISC you feel like you’re travelling the world!”
Accreditation acts as a seal of approval for senior centers, and ISC stands out among accredited centers nationwide for its success in welcoming seniors from different backgrounds and cultures. The accreditation process helped build connections among ISC stakeholders and improved internal operations.
Shannon Peter, president of ISC’s Board of Directors, says, “Under Carolina's leadership, ISC has become a unique and vibrant place dedicated to helping seniors from all backgrounds thrive in our community. This accreditation is a recognition of the fantastic work of the ISC staff and will open doors for continued growth and expansion.”
“With this accomplishment, ISC has a strong foundation to continue high-quality services and to innovate for the future,” says Padilla. “The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the needs of isolated older adults, and this is the right moment to envision how to design our community so older adults can enjoy independent, joyful, and healthy lives.”
About Intercultural Senior Center: Intercultural Senior Center actively welcomes older adults from around the world for education, fitness and wellness, social services, and friendship. With transportation and interpretation services, ISC reduces barriers of mobility and language, so that older adults can live more independently and connect across cultures and generations. ISC is a meal site for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.
Visit www.interculturalseniorcenter.org or call 402-444-6529 for further information.