The Transylvania Times -

Silvermont Center Receives ‘Excellence’ Tag


April 19, 2011

A long-awaited distinction was recently awarded to the Silvermont Opportunity Center. It became a certified “Center of Excellence.”

To be certified, senior centers must demonstrate that they provide access on site or assistance in gaining access to at least 29 of 34 community services, ranging from health screenings, fitness and health promotion, insurance counseling, tax preparation, legal services to transportation, home health, energy assistance, and congregate and home delivered meals.

To be able to provide services on site, make effective referrals, and provide expertise about aging issues, senior centers develop partnerships with many different organizations in the community.

The Silvermont center partners with more than 30 agencies, other non-profits and local government to accomplish this task.

There are approximately 275 Transylvania residents currently using the center, which logs between 800 and 850 participant visits each month.

Silvermont offers a wide variety of activities to participants, some daily, weekly, or monthly and others as special events. They also have drop-in activities, such as the use of WiFi, that participants can do or use when they wish.

Cards and games such as Bridge, Mah Jongg, Scrabble, and chess are the most popular drop-in activities. Other services include an in-house lending library and Non-Fiction Book Club.

Fitness and exercise, such as aerobics and Tai Chi, are popular regularly scheduled classes which accommodate different levels of physical activity.

Workshops, such as basic home repair and healthy frugal cooking, are especially designed to help folks stretch their budgets. More options are available.

For a full schedule, go to, or pick up a newsletter at the library or Silvermont. On Thursdays The Transylvania Times also lists weekly activities.

One of the considerable challenges of the Senior Center in developing programming is the great diversity of the participants. The center makes special efforts to have activities that interest the younger 60’s set and also appeal to those two generations away.

“We certainly welcome any suggestions community residents might have in regards to classes, workshops, and activities that potentially could be available at Silvermont,” said Barbara Greene, director of WCCA’s Community Services. “This center belongs to our seniors.”

Seniors make up one third of the population of Transylvania County and that number is expected to grow over the next 10 years with the “baby boomers” joining that number rapidly.

Volunteering plays a vital role at Silvermont. Volunteering primarily serves two functions in senior centers: providing meaningful activities for people who want to improve the lives of others and supplying the center with unpaid personnel.

Last year, 45 volunteers at Silvermont Opportunity Center “worked” more than 1,100 hours. Using the very minimal wage rate of $10 to calculate the value would show that $11,000 was donated in time.

“I would like to encourage our government leaders — local, state, and federal — to take a good look at what senior centers offer in our communities. I think you will be amazed,” Greene said.

The center’s hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m.-noon on Friday. For more information, call 884-3166 and talk to Center Director Alice Taylor.


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