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A senior center provides a hub for seniors to gather, learn new skills, share their expertise, and participate in activities. The center's effectiveness in providing a social outlet to meet the needs of a diverse community of residents 55 years and older hinges upon how well the director of the center performs his responsibilities and executes his duties.
Supervised by the Commission on Aging and the Senior Center Board of Directors, a senior citizen director supervises the center's paid and volunteer staff and coordinates schedules and activities to ensure the smooth operation of the overall programs.
Develop and Organize Activities
Seniors participate in several recreational and educational activities, in-house and at outside locations. The director develops and coordinates those activities that are suitable to the seniors' abilities and interests, which can include surfing the Internet, using email, performing word processing tasks, learning how to use a cell phone, playing golf, and going on a nature walk.
Without a strong budget to provide for the needs of the senior citizens, the center is limited in the quality and number of programs that it provides. With proper management of funds, the director is able to maximize the center's budget to cover the expenses of all the activities.
Write and Implement Grants
A senior center director finds means of stretching the budget to meet the expenses of all the programs, and he also supplements the budget through grants. He uses research and analytical skills to find grant-making organizations that are likely to fund the center's programs, and utilizes strong writing and grammar skills to write effective grant applications that clearly explain the senior center's purpose, programs and expenses.
Coordinate Building Maintenance and Repair
The director coordinates all activities involving the maintenance and repair of the senior center. He is knowledgeable of the facility's maintenance needs and works closely with the responsible personnel to ensure that they have the ability and supplies to carry out their duties in a timely manner.
Work with Group Leaders
Senior centers expose the seniors to a variety of activities, each normally headed by a different staff member or volunteer. The director works closely with each leader and maintains a liaison with each group to ensure that activities such as trips, Bingo, card leagues and exercise classes are properly scheduled without overlap.
Coordinate with Agents
The director also coordinates with the social service administrator and municipal agent for the elderly to plan and implement community programs geared to enhance the seniors' lifestyles. The director coordinates medical and food shopping transportation, income tax preparation, insurance counseling, and access to social events.
A senior center director must have computer and word processing skills, communication skills, and an interest in the well-being of seniors. He must also be knowledgeable about the things that affect seniors, and must possess interpersonal, leadership and coordination skills. He must be willing to obtain certifications such as those for CPR and as a Qualified Food Operator.
As of 2012, the median salary for social and community service managers in the United States stood at $59,970 per year, or $28.83 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2016 Salary Information for Social and Community Service Managers
Social and community service managers earned a median annual salary of $64,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, social and community service managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $50,030, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $85,230, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 147,300 people were employed in the U.S. as social and community service managers.
Martha Richardson began her journalism career as a newspaper reporter in 1992. She has written articles for the Printmaking Council of New Jersey and featured community organizations on "Access New Jersey." Richardson has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1994.
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