Since the Reidsville Senior Center/RCARE last received the coveted “Center of Excellence” certification from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, a lot has changed. Due to the pandemic, senior centers were also required to provide virtual programs to the community to assist the senior community in surviving the COVID-19 epidemic. Although closed to the public for approximately one year, RCARE through its staff still made attempts to keep the seniors informed and active through social media ventures and other virtual opportunities.
Enrollment has increased from approximately 350 active seniors to a membership of over 2,600. Yet one thing remains the same – RCARE still provides a high level of services for its clientele, which come from across Rockingham County.
RCARE has again earned the top honor as a “Center for Excellence” from NCDHH’s Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) after a rigorous application process that concluded with a site visit on June 20, 2023. RCARE Coordinator Cindy Baynes was told on that date that the facility had passed the certification, but a letter would be sent to make the announcement official. That letter arrived on July 8.
The certification will be valid for five years. The Reidsville Senior Center received its first “Center of Excellence” designation in 2005. Centers can apply to be either a Center of Merit, meaning they meet the requirements of the Home and Community Care Block Grant and provide high quality services, or the top honor, a Center of Excellence. Being a Center of Excellence means the facility offers exemplary services and opportunities for their communities and serve as mentors and models to developing centers.
Certification is especially important because it allows RCARE to become eligible for additional grant funding, which is based on certification level.
“This is definitely a team effort and without every staff member doing their part, the puzzle just does not come together,” RCARE Coordinator Baynes said. “Every time we get re-certified, it seems the requirements are a little more difficult, and the expectations are higher. The certification team always makes recommendations they would like to see on the next visit and as soon as we obtain the certification for this timespan, our staff has to start working on the recommendations to prepare for the next certification visit five years down the road.”
North Carolina has approximately 171 Senior Centers, some of which are in the developing stages, and only 138 are full-time centers. RCARE is one of 80 across the State to achieve the distinction and the only one in Rockingham County to obtain the “Center of Excellence” certification.