SeniorYouth - Red Oak Seniors

Red Oak Seniors
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and other Southwest Iowa Non-Profit Organizations
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Supporting Activities for Red Oak IA Area Seniors' benefit
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Senior-Youth Center
(please note that references herein are meant to incorporate a surrounding Community area, and not just the city of Red Oak IA.)
What is it?... a facility and related resources that span generations.
Why?.. The Senior Center could make use of the facilities from Morning to Mid-afternoon and
Youth Center can make use of facilities from Mid-afternoon till closing (tbd), thus combining these two age groups in a plan of “facility and resources sharing”. It could lower the unit costs by sharing overhead costs and common facilities, without imposing on each other’s age-group. Plus the time of use by each group would easily sync and thus make the overall usage at peak productivity and efficiency.
Why?.. the current Red Oak Senior Center could use a more convenient facility that could improve the solicitation effort to increase memberships and perhaps add to the programs and services that are currently available.
Why?.. Red Oak Youth Center is yet non-existent and indeed Red Oak and the surrounding towns and Communities have nothing that serves as a “gathering” location for school age and young adults in our Community area. The basic idea would be to “keep them off the street”.
Where?.. Ideally the facility would be located in the downtown area where there may be a greater chance of utilizing buildings and structures that may currently be empty. Combining the Seniors and the Youth to share a facility could be of great financial benefit to both groups of Community members. Funding and Fundraising could be easier and with greater possibility than should either organization attempt the effort alone. Such a situation could increase the possibility of funding utilizing local, state and federal funding incentive programs.
The Target Community would probably be 15 to 20 miles from the Red Oak Center location, and could incorporate area schools and colleges, as well as Target Community Churches.
The same format described herein could be a template for other rural communities with similar circumstances. It is important that Community Seniors be exposed to a wide variety of activities and would/could encourage retiring seniors in metro areas to consider relocation to this Community. Likewise, area youth and young adults have limited options on activities and functions that would/could lead to less likely to become involved in illegal activities and drug related problems.
A Senior-Youth Center provides a meeting place and/or educational focal point for a diverse age range of our Community. There may be classes, sports, movies and much more that could be offered. The following are but a few examples of activities that could be incorporated into such a local effort.
Senior Center (potential) activities and uses:
Coffee Club, Card Club, Bingo Club, Senior lunches (daily), Field trips, education/classes (computer, social media, other….), products for sale, more ….
Youth Center (potential) activities:
education/tutoring-homework assistance, billiards, video games, Foosball, Ping Pong, darts, music juke box, board games, card games, food (soft drinks, ice cream, sandwiches), cooking classes, jobs board(employment), more….
Where to Start…
: the following suggested guidelines are not unique, and indeed this outline and procedure steps are largely plagiarized from a number of sources and have been assembled to best fit our relatively small Community, and are subject to changes – deletions, additions and modifications.
1.      Combine age groups and/or organizations - One of the easiest ways to start a senior-youth center may be to combine existing organization. A survey should be undertaken that would identify community and/or religious programs in our area to see who may have programs for young people, as well as for our senior citizens.
2.      Form an Advisory Board – It may go unsaid, but unless the organizational effort has the involvement of our local Community leaders, success of the overall plan may be difficult realize. Area Non-profit Organizations, Churches, local Economic Development and citys’ Chamber groups, etc. should be contacted and integrate those organizations into  the effort formalizing an Advisory Board that would take the initiative on outlining and defining the ultimate organization. In a procedure to be determined, select individuals to become active in the project effort to act as a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board.
3.      Create a mission statement along with desired goals and objectives. One of the initial objectives of the Advisory Board would be to write down the purpose, the goals, and the objective of the senior-youth center, in other words, a Mission Statement.
4.      Formality of non-profit status – Senior Center may already be classified as a Non-Profit Organization (NPO), in which case it would simply be a matter of incorporating the organizational plan. This is important in order to be active in soliciting and receiving donations and grants from governmental and charitable foundation sources of monies. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is the ultimate status. This would be the opportune time for the Advisory Board to seek the involvement of legal counsel, if not already incorporated into the Advisory Board
5.      Formalize the overhead administrative requirements – As with the aforementioned need for legal counsel, this may be the best time to seek advisory assistance from knowledgeable insurance agency or staff members, as well as determining contractual needs. There are a number of types of administrative details that will be necessary for such an operation as has been generally described. Among these efforts, insurance and record keeping would be foremost in administrative considerations.
6.      Find a facility Find a building and/or an appropriate facility should be undertaken in the early stages of Advisory Board planning. This would demonstrate a commitment to the Community of the true importance of the ultimate Senior-Youth Organization. Of course included in this effort would be the open discussion of the activities and needs of such an organization. The building/facility space would need to be able to accommodate the planned activities that will have been established. Allowance should be made for future potential needs and activities. Also factored in should consider a central location, access, square footage, current facilities, parking, overhead costs, among a number factors to take into account.
7.      Revenue Plan – This may indeed be the most important aspect of any start-up plan. Obviously without revenues, there can be no organization. It should be the incorporation of a number of forms of receiving and/or generating monies. As a non-profit, making use of the services of a knowledgeable grant writers would an important consideration in seeking local, state, and federal opportunities for receiving funding. Likewise the involvement of business people that could use their experience in suggesting products and services that offer continuing generation of monies. This effort can reduce the requirements for grants and other forms of governmental funding possibilities, thus spreading the forms and methods of generating monies can increase the likelihood of success of the Senior-Youth Center.
8.      Recruit volunteers and eventually hire staff. Recruit dedicated, reliable people to assume the staff responsibilities. Recruiting volunteers may also be of interest, but it would not necessarily be wise to become “dependent” on volunteers. It would be of greater importance to consider revenue generating opportunities that would be more likely to insure a greater chance of success of The Senior-Youth Center. A steady stream of income can increase the likelihood of having qualified employees.
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