Del Mar Community Connections rethinks funding methods

From bringing health information and services to residents to reuniting lost pets with their owners, Del Mar Community Connections’ leaders say the program aims to be a one-stop resource for Del Mar residents.

DMCC offers fitness classes, computer training, low-income housing assistance, transportation, pet reuniting, entertainment outings, social gatherings, flu shots, health advice, tax counseling, legal services, referrals and more. And when a homeless man is found sleeping in the hallway of a local hotel, DMCC gets the call.

“What we’re trying to do is create that community connection,” said program manager Heather Glenn. “We’re like a community watch, not just a neighborhood watch.”

But, given the current economic climate, the nonprofit is rethinking its fundraising model.

In the past, DMCC organized a popular dinner and auction. This year, the auction was coordinated and done through direct mail and the Internet, saving supporters the cost of a ticket to the party. This year’s auction was for a $500 gift certificate to Pacifica Del Mar Wine Room and eight bottles of private reserve wines, donated by local wine collectors.

But Glenn said the $1,100 raised in the auction was less than last year’s party brought in for the organization. She said they are considering putting the auction on eBay next year to reach a broader audience.

The city of Del Mar contributes $17,500 a year to DMCC’s transportation fund through its Community Support Grants program. This helps pay for a shuttle service to grocery stores for a $3 suggested donation.

The shuttle is also used for various DMCC outings from a trip to see a holiday concert to a Horton Plaza shopping trip.

The city also contributes $4,000 a year to the Dial-A-Ride program, which provides taxi ride vouchers for $5 to Del Mar citizens who are 62 or older and/or are disabled.

Glenn is the only full-time regular employee. There is also a part-time bus driver and a back-up bus driver available. All other services are delivered through volunteer help. One volunteer drives down from Carlsbad every Friday because she likes the organization so much, Glenn said.

“We’ve kept our scale modest, so we’re stable,” said Shirley King, DMCC board president. But she said DMCC is considering using a membership model, giving citizens the option of paying regular dues for more service. King said the program would probably be designed to offer transportation discounts to members in addition to the regular services and programs currently offered.

Encouraging health, activity

The popular Senior Health Forum with Dr. Mark Kalina has been going on for a year now. On Tuesday mornings, Kalina invites a health care professional to speak to a group. The conversations encourage physical, emotional and spiritual health for local seniors.

Last Tuesday, Dr. Steve Bierman spoke about the role of the unconscious in health and healing.

“He’s taking the knowledge of a physician right to the people,” King said of Kalina.

The group meets every Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Del Mar Communications Center, 240 10th St. Call 792-7565 to register.

DMCC also launched a new brain fitness program, designed by cognitive scientist Dr. Michael Merzernich. The Posit Science program is an individualized computer-training course that is designed to improve memory and mental agility.

Computer tutoring, senior fitness classes, tai chi classes and water aerobics are offered weekly on a regular basis. DMCC also organizes weekly bridge and mah jong games.

The Seasoned Readers Book Club meets the last Tuesday of every month at the Del Mar Library at 2 p.m. This month’s book is “The Man In The White Sharkskin Suit,” by Lucette Lagnado.

DMCC also launched a social Lunch Around the Village outing this month, which Glenn said is “a big hit.” The next Lunch Around the Village is at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 7 at Zel’s.

For a schedule of events, visit or call 792-7565.

Related posts:

  1. Community Connections celebrates its founder
  2. Community center seeks business partnerships
  3. DM warns about scam
  4. Classes to boost brain power offered
  5. Memorial walk set for May 16

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