To say that we – as an organization that gets so much support from our community – are blessed, is truly an understatement. When dealing with issues of health and safety on such a global scale, many businesses have been forced to make difficult choices. It has been no different for the O’Neill Center and the Belpre Senior Center. But we are grateful that we have been able to continue providing transportation, lifestyle programs, adult day care, grocery boxes, social services, virtual programs and so much more.
After closing in November due to an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the community, the Belpre Senior Center is now open once again, offering exercise classes three days a week and Bible study on Fridays. Bonnie McGowan, the manager in Belpre, also has some surprises up her sleeve to welcome the seniors back in a safe manner. Call 740-423-6022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Behind the scenes, the staff of The O’Neill Center has been busy preparing for our national accreditation process. Every five years, we meet with representatives from the National Institute of Senior Centers to determine if we are keeping with the nine standards and practices they have established in an effort to advance the quality of senior centers nationwide. Earning accreditation improves and strengthens overall senior center operations. It results in official recognition that a senior center is meeting its mission in a nationally accepted, professional fashion. Benefits of being a nationally accredited center include opportunities for funding, access to exclusive resources for information and guidance, and new partnerships. In other words, earning national accreditation is a win-win for the community and everyone who benefits from the services provided by the Center.
Speaking of partnerships, we are excited about our continued partnership with the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Through collaboration with many local nonprofits, businesses and government organizations, UWA provides core initiatives that serve identified needs in the communities they serve. Additionally, each year, they partner with and fund local nonprofits doing work in the focus areas of Education, Income Stability, Health, and Safety Net Services. The O’Neill Center receives funding from the United Way for our transportation, adult day center and homemaker programs. Without the generosity of the United Way, many nonprofits would not be able to continue doing the work that they do for the community.
Along with United Way, we would like to thank Marietta Community Foundation, Sisters Health Foundation, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, Marietta Welfare League, Walmart, Kroger, ODOT, Buckeye Hills, the PMC Company, Network for Good, Peoples Bankcorp., Settler’s Bank, our annual end-of-the-year appeal funders, and numerous private donors for their generosity over the past several months. Any contribution, whether great or small, has made an enormous impact for area seniors.
Finally, The O’Neill Center and Belpre Senior Center are happy to see so many people lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccination. With an increase in the number of folks getting vaccinated and continued safety precautions, we are crossing our fingers that we will be able to open to more activities and more chances to get together. For now, please wear your mask, take advantage of our transportation services to get your vaccine, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta. She can be reached at email@example.com or 740-373-3914.