Del Mar Community Connections selects Denise O’Neil as ‘Volunteer of Month’ for February


The title of February Volunteer of the Month has been awarded by Del Mar Community Connections (DMCC) to Denise O’Neil, co-founder of the organization’s “Adapting to Life Transitions” support group for aging-related issues.

Denise O’Neil
Denise O’Neil

She was nominated by Nicole Holliday and Dr. Mark Kalina, co-chairs of the Health and Wellness committee.

Originally from Boston, O’Neil has called Del Mar home for 11 years. With a background in public health, O’Neil spent a couple of decades in clinical research focused on the treatment of autoimmune disorders and cancer. When her scientific interests shifted towards the mind-body connection, O’Neil returned to school to earn her master’s degree in counseling, and has now been working as a therapist in private practice for five years.

O’Neil’s adventures in volunteering began in college, having been challenged by a professor to do community service. She describes the uplifting feeling she experienced when she would visit a local nursing home to spend time with the residents: “It feels good to do things for others with no expectation or need for getting anything in return.”

DMCC committee members participate in meetings and contribute ideas and work to support their committees’ projects. Committees are overseen by DMCC’s board of directors, and committee members enjoy the teamwork. O’Neil says, “I feel I’ve been blessed to interact with Del Mar’s seniors. They have had a transformational impact on my life, continuing to remind me each day is a gift from God.”