Volunteer of the Month
Annie Duval is uniquely positioned to provide help to DMCC. As the lead of Del Mar Voices, an ongoing oral history project through the Del Mar Historical Society, Annie was called upon to help DMCC create the Gordon Clanton Memorial Award. DMCC board member and Development Chair Mary Walshok nominated Annie for recognition, saying that Annie “was the perfect person to champion the opportunity.”
Annie was born and raised in Seattle and has always lived on a coast of some sort, including Lake Michigan and Maine. Annie loves to sail, and ultimately chose to dock her life in Del Mar because of the village atmosphere and the woodsy feel. Annie has had a fascinating variety of professional experiences, including everything from cooking and yoga instruction to working for a medical research nonprofit in its development office. Annie’s longest professional experience was working for SAIC, a tech company – and even got to be part of its nuclear fusion project.
Somehow Annie found the time to raise two kids in Del Mar: Giovanna who lives in Michigan and Tadz who lives in New Mexico. They still love to visit Annie and her husband Dave and bring the three grandkids. Annie is a major fitness buff who has run marathons and competitively rowed and she is an advocate for healthy eating. She loves shopping at the Farmers Market and sharing her passion for healthy cooking.
Annie’s volunteer work is focused on her community because she cares about helping her neighbors. She served on the Del Mar Woods board, and of course her work with the Del Mar Historical Society is how she ended up working with DMCC. “I find it very satisfying to help create a caring and positive community.”
The Gordon Clanton Memorial Award was created in 2021 as an effort to honor DMCC’s late board member and his lifetime of intergenerational educational efforts. Funds that were donated in the wake of Clanton’s passing were used to create an annual award for an undergraduate sociology student who will work with the Del Mar Historical Society to collect the wisdom of the older generations in Del Mar. Annie’s work in coordinating DMCC, DMHS, and San Diego State University was key in creating the opportunity and selecting the first award winner. Annie says, “I enjoy being part of a team, and I have been fortunate to assist Del Mar Community Connections, whose dedication to bringing support services and information to Del Mar’s Seniors is inspirational.”
Kristen King is a positive person who is always willing to help at the last minute. Since signing on as a volunteer driver last year, Kristen has made herself available to cover senior transportation needs that pop up unexpectedly. DMCC board member and Transportation Committee Chair Marilyn Carpenter nominated Kristen for recognition, saying that she “has really stepped up to the plate! She is enthusiastic, she is able to adapt to eleventh-hour requests, she is proactive in determining if there are rides that need to be covered, and the DMCC riders so very much enjoy her company.”
Kristen wasn’t born in California but has lived in the San Diego area since she was four years old. A child of a Navy doctor who was stationed on the USS Vulcan, both her parents were medical professionals. Kristen herself worked in early childhood education and raised three children of her own – Nicholas, Mitchell, and Libby, who are now adults. Kristen loves living in Del Mar, citing “gratitude daily for all of the ways this community fills me up.” She spends her free time traveling, walking her dogs Hazel and Sage, and spending time with loved ones.
Kristen’s volunteer resume starts all the way back as a young girl enrolled in dance classes who entertained senior nursing facility residents with ballet recitals. She was then a candy striper at her parents’ hospital in high school, with a placement on the senior floor, and it was there that she discovered the joys of “hearing their stories, learning about history, and comforting them.” Besides her volunteering with DMCC, she’s also a member of the venerated Del Mar Garden Club.
DMCC volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to help individual seniors who no longer drive to get to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other essential errands. They report gratification with the flexible schedule and the friendly relationships they develop with the clients. Kristen says, “It is truly a joy to help seniors through DMCC overcome barriers to enjoy a fuller life.”
Thank You Kristen!
Barbara Ann Paulovich
Barbara Ann Paulovich is especially good at being part of a team. Since joining DMCC’s Social and Good Times Committee a couple of years ago, Barbara Ann has helped enormously in planning and operating annual events such as the Cookies and Cocoa Holiday Party, the Spring Ice Cream Social, and the flu clinic held every October. DMCC board member and Social and Good Times Committee Chair Linda Chisari nominated Barbara Ann for recognition, calling her “the best committee member one could hope for! She shows up at all meetings, offers great suggestions, and cheerfully participates in the events our committee organizes. She’s especially good at making sure that the hot chocolate she serves is tastefully decorated with peppermint and marshmallows!”
Barbara Ann has been a resident of Del Mar for over half a century. Born in Minneapolis, in her early adulthood she worked as an airline stewardess; then airport ticket agent; then executive secretary, moving all around the country with her late husband Ken. They even lived in London and Tokyo for short periods. During all the jet-setting, they managed to raise a son and daughter, who each graduated from Torrey Pines and UC Davis, and both still live in California.
Barbara Ann’s parents set her up from an early age to do whatever she could to help her neighbors for free: “they had me shoveling the sidewalk for the older ladies across the street, and I also helped babysit a disabled kid a few hours a week so that the mom could have a little free time.” Barbara Ann has practiced that custom throughout her life, at home and abroad, volunteering for school programs, hospitals, and especially church-based programs that help the less fortunate or military families. She has tutored, sewn quilts, started arts and crafts groups, hostessed teas, organized gift drives, worked at thrift shops, prepared meal deliveries, and much, much more.
DMCC special events happen because of the dedication of volunteers. Social and Good Times committee members meet whenever they’re planning an event, and work as a team during the planning stage and at the event itself to make it special and fun. Barbara Ann says “How could one resist the name of the Social and Good Times committee! I enjoy working with the other committee members, tossing ideas around and coming up with a plan. It is rewarding to watch guests who might not otherwise get an opportunity to interact with each other enjoying the event – and hearing laughter is such a plus!”
Thank You Barbara Ann!
Lois Higgins is an excellent example of a community member who draws on her personal interests in order to give back. Starting around a year ago as a volunteer driver for DMCC, she has recently started leading the Sand Striders beach walking group, helping to expand free fitness options for Del Mar seniors and providing a great opportunity to socialize and enjoy the beautiful local scenery. DMCC board member and Program Committee Co-Chair Sheila Sharpe nominated Lois, noting that “We at DMCC are very lucky to have Lois’s enthusiasm and flexibility.”
Lois has been a resident of Del Mar for over 40 years. Before retirement, she had a long career in project management and planning for a utility company, overseeing coordination and customer service with major home builders and residential customers. She draws a lot of pride from the younger generations of her family, citing her step kids and granddaughter that attended Del Mar schools, and the fact that she just became a great grandmother for the first time!
Currently, Lois also volunteers for Casa de Amistad, serving local kids through education and mentoring programs. In the past, she has volunteered for hospice services. When she’s not volunteering, you can find Lois reading, going to the gym, walking on the beach, or cooking and entertaining for family and friends.
DMCC is able to offer so many great activities because of our volunteer program leaders, who use their unique skills and interests to create opportunities for engagement and socialization. They report satisfaction over having control over their corner of the DMCC activity calendar. Lois says “the mission statement of DMCC is something that spoke to me. I enjoy helping people from children to adults and usually get more out of the time spent with them than I give to them.”
Thank You Lois!
Melissa Russell and Lauren Wright
Volunteering for DMCC means being part of a larger team; this month’s honorees showed us how teamwork is done! As part of serving on the Outreach committee, Melissa Russell and Lauren Wright took the lead in designing an impressive new brochure that provides a basic overview of DMCC, describing our services, activities, and volunteer opportunities for the uninitiated. Outreach co-chair Tema Halpern nominated them, saying “While working full-time and caring for families, Lauren and Melissa managed to devote time and talent to producing a brochure that we are proud to hand out to the community. We are so fortunate to have them involved in our outreach efforts!”
Melissa is a San Diego-area native, having grown up in Rancho Santa Fe. After an early career in advertising and marketing, Melissa became a Realtor in 2003 and has worked in real estate since then. Three years ago, Melissa moved to Del Mar, closer to her mother who has lived here for more than 30 years. Melissa volunteers because “I feel gratitude for the care and activity that DMCC volunteers and staff have provided for my mother, and it has been so fun and inspirational to witness other DMCC volunteers helping people. I want everyone possible to know about the wonderful opportunities that DMCC provides.”
Lauren lives in Ocean Beach and has worked for Del Mar-based company JR Resources for 13 years, helping businesses to source fun and useful promotional items. Lauren’s husband and 4-year-old son keep her on her toes, and they will be adding a little girl to their family early next year. Starting as a volunteer driver, Lauren found that she could make her work experience useful to DMCC by assisting with graphic design. It was important to her because “I was very close to my grandmother and saw how important programs are that assisted her in independence so that she could remain in her cozy little home – I wanted to help others experience the same happiness and support. Plus, I’ve met so many fantastic and interesting individuals through my work with DMCC!”
DMCC has a variety of committees to serve on that promote a variety of interests and provide the opportunity to work in a team setting. The Outreach committee works together to get the word out about DMCC in order to increase program and activity participation and recruit new volunteers. To learn more about Melissa and Lauren or volunteering on a DMCC committee please visit dmcc.cc/volunteerofthemonth.
Thank You Melissa and Lauren!
Beverly Boggs has not been volunteering for DMCC for very long, but she always does so with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. When a last-minute volunteer is needed to help with a mailing or administrative task Beverly can be counted on to step up to the plate. Her dedication and hard work with DMCC fundraising mailings are why Development Chair Mary Walshok nominated Beverly for Volunteer of the Month.
Beverly is a second-generation Californian who grew up near San Francisco in the East Bay area. Both her mother and sister were in the nursing profession, but Beverly was far more interested in business, specifically real estate; by the age of 21 she owned her first rental property. After 10 years working for attorneys and attending night school, Beverly decided to attend college full time at Portland State University where she graduated with degrees in Business and Psychology. Beverly set her sights outside of the gray weather in Portland and decided to move to La Jolla in 1985. Two years later, appreciating the serenity of Del Mar, she purchased a home and has lived here ever since. Beverly has worked as a licensed realtor in Del Mar since 1989. “I find joy in helping people with one of their most important decisions.” Beverly’s partner, Ron, is a retired scientist from Salk Institute.
Beverly is fairly new to DMCC, but she has been giving back to the community for many years. While living in the Bay area, inspired by her mother’s volunteer work with terminal patients, Beverly volunteered at the County Children’s Shelter. “My mom set a wonderful example of service to others.” She has also been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood and volunteered at their Mira Mesa clinic.
DMCC administrative volunteers help to expand the capabilities of the organization by assisting with large mailings, and other administrative tasks. Beverly says there were two experiences that motivated her to volunteer for DMCC. “I was motivated after talking to DMCC Board members and hearing their enthusiasm for their volunteer duties and after watching DMCC’s Secrets of Longevity program where they discussed the joys of volunteering. I was happy to discover DMCC and am grateful for all the programs DMCC offers.” To learn more about Beverly or volunteering for DMCC please visit dmcc.cc/volunteerofthemonth.
Thank You Beverly!
Linda Otchis will make herself useful however she can, but the best quality she has as a volunteer is that she will make you her friend the instant you meet her. In her volunteer work for DMCC, she serves as a volunteer driver, helps with mailings, serves on the Outreach committee, and really, just helps out wherever she can. DMCC board member Judy Schuckit nominated her for this honor because “Linda is just so friendly and easy to work with, and really contributes to a shared sense of community.”
Linda’s roots are in Rochester, NY, but she moved to Los Angeles at the age of four. She grew up there, eventually meeting her husband Wayne. Together they raised three boys (Linda even took a turn as a Cub Scout leader) and she worked in Wayne’s tax accounting practice for over 40 years. When their sons became adults, the family spread out; Linda and Wayne have lived in Del Mar for 20 years now, and their sons and four grandkids live in Colorado and Texas.
Linda and Wayne do a lot of traveling. Those fortunate enough to be friends with the Otchises received daily travelog emails this summer as they treated two of their grandkids to individualized European sightseeing trips, documenting everything from Pisa to Normandy. But Linda also likes to give back. In addition to her volunteer activities with DMCC, she helps seniors to “keep their lives active and interesting” at Seacrest Village in Encinitas.
DMCC volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to help individual seniors who no longer drive to get to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other essential errands. They report gratification with the flexible schedule and the friendly relationships they develop with the clients. Linda also credits the company of fellow DMCC volunteers, stating “I have met many very friendly and dedicated volunteers who have encouraged me to become more active and take on additional responsibilities. This community involvement is one of the things that makes Del Mar such a special place to live.” To learn more about Linda or volunteering as a volunteer driver for DMCC, visit www.dmcc.cc/volunteerofthemonth.
Thank You Linda!
Michael Leiderman is the kind of volunteer every service-oriented organization wants on the team but can be difficult to find. He has relevant professional experience, youthful ideas and energy, and most importantly, a personal drive for the cause. Michael started as a volunteer driver for DMCC transportation programs, then followed up by creating a monthly chair exercise class that is both fun and vital for the seniors in the community called Move with Michael. DMCC board member Marilyn Carpenter nominated him for this honor because “Michael provides such a valuable service for our seniors. Having the availability of structured movement and stretching routines is a real treat for them because they value the exertion as well as the group camaraderie.”
Michael is a local; having grown up in Poway, he now shares a home in Solana Beach with his wife Shannon and their Maine coon Nacho. During his childhood, Michael’s dad worked as an administrator at a nursing home, which led to Michael appreciating older generations even from a young age. As it turns out, it was also good professional training for him; not only is Michael a professionally certified physical therapist who has enjoyed treating patients of all ages, but he became a partner in a local business focused on senior services called Partner in Aging with a mission “to enable seniors to age with dignity, purpose, and joy.” In that role, Michael and his colleagues do everything from connecting their clients to independent caregivers or social companions, to providing house calls for medical and physical therapy services, to helping them search for appropriate communities, to home accessibility modifications, and more. “It’s important to me to empower families with information, support, and resources to navigate the many complexities of senior care.”
DMCC is able to offer so many great activities because of our volunteer program leaders, who use their unique skills and interests to create opportunities for engagement and socialization. They report satisfaction over having control over their corner of the DMCC activity calendar. Michael says that for his part, “I really enjoy meeting interesting people with wisdom. I also work from home most of the day, so it gives me a great excuse to get out of the house for a couple hours and be near the ocean.” To learn more about Michael or volunteering as a program leader for DMCC, visit www.partnerinaging.com or www.dmcc.cc/volunteerofthemonth.
Thank You Michael!
Stephen Groban, MD is one of those volunteers who instantly makes an impact when he joins the team. A recently-retired psychiatrist, Steve joined DMCC’s Health and Wellness team, contributing his expertise and professional connections to help produce the Premiere Speaker Series and serve as moderator when needed. His willingness to jump right in and be part of the team is why Health and Wellness co-chair Nicole Holliday nominated Steve for volunteer of the month.
Steve grew up in New York City and spent his adolescence in the Midwest. A resident of Del Mar for almost five decades now, Steve spent three of those decades in in private practice. He spent the final twenty years of his professional career balancing work as a clinical professor at UCSD and as medical director of the Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Unit at the VA hospital. Meanwhile, he and his wife Deborah raised an impressive family; their son Zachary is well-known in Del Mar for being the owner of Rusty’s Surf Shop, while their son Joshua serves as a justice on the California Supreme Court.
Steve isn’t the only member of the family to get involved in the Del Mar community. Deborah served on the Planning Commission and Council and brother-in-law Lou Terrell served as mayor. Zachary was on the Business Support Advisory Council and is on the board of the Del Mar Village Association. Steve cites inspiration from their examples, looking forward to doing more for his community in retirement, “now that I have the time.”
DMCC has a variety of committees to serve on that promote a variety of interests. The Health and Wellness Team meets regularly to contribute ideas and plan the Premiere Speaker Series programs, which introduces engaging experts to discuss the latest medical issues. Steve says he likes being part of the Health and Wellness team because “DMCC is a truly remarkable organization with the services it provides for the seniors of Del Mar.”
Thank You Steve!
Emily Gilmore, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has contributed her professional expertise to DMCC for three years by co-leading (along with Katie Militello) our support group for challenges related to aging, Adapting to Life Transitions (ALT). If you meet Emily, you immediately learn how kind and calming she is. Throughout the pandemic, ALT has continued to meet over Zoom or on DMCC’s patio, however they can provide support to the older adults who need it. That spirit of determination is why DMCC president Terry Kopanski nominated Emily for volunteer of the month.
Originally from Newport Beach then Palm Desert, Emily began her professional career in office administration and later as a bookseller. As a practicing psychotherapist, Emily has worked in hospice settings, elementary education, higher education, and in private practice. Most recently, Emily has made her skills available to clients through a life coaching business, because her goal is to “help people make peace with change, plan their next steps, and move forward in their lives.” Emily has been married to her husband Jim for over 30 years. They have a son who lives in the area and a daughter who resides in Oregon.
Emily gives back to the community by volunteering for a variety of organizations. “I feel strongly that we need to help one another in this world, and I am grateful to have been able to volunteer over the years—in my kids’ schools when they were young, and for Planned Parenthood and Mama’s Kitchen in the past. I recently started volunteering for Feeding San Diego, which I am enjoying and plan to continue. To me volunteering is part of being a well-rounded person and having a fulfilling life.”
DMCC program leaders and instructors use their unique expertise to help seniors to learn something new or participate in an activity that enriches their quality of life and the feeling of community. Program leaders enjoy overseeing their corner of the DMCC calendar of activities and meeting Del Mar’s remarkable seniors. Emily says, “I love interacting with the people DMCC serves, and getting to know more about them and their fascinating lives! I also appreciate that the organization is providing a truly beneficial service to the senior population in our community.”
Thank You Emily!
Dan DeNike has only volunteered for DMCC for the last couple of years, but when he makes a contribution, he does it with his full heart. Dan can be counted on to work hard at special events, and at last year’s holiday party, he even put on a red suit and pretended to be a jolly old friend. That is why Social and Good Times committee chair Linda Chisari nominated him for volunteer of the month.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Dan has a business degree from Missouri University and a degree in International Relations from Naval War College in Rhode Island. Dan started his record of public service by serving his country for 28 years; he had a full career as a Navy pilot, amassing 7,000 hours in the PC3 Orion, taking on test pilot and instructor pilot roles, and retiring with the rank of Captain in 1987. In his civilian career, he worked for Mesa Distributing. Dan was blessed with four sons who are now spread across the West coast and have given him five grandchildren. Dan has now lived in the area for 17 years and he and his partner, fellow DMCC volunteer Marilyn Carpenter, frequently care for his two grandkids who live in San Diego.
Dan is that rare volunteer at the special event who lifts the heavy box or stays late to clean up. Or he’s asked to do something he’s never done, gives it a try, and does a great job of it (like playing Santa Claus!) Dan says, “I have been very blessed in my life. Helping and reaching out to others in need is my way of paying back.”
DMCC event volunteers attend our high-profile community activities like the holiday party, ice cream social, or flu vaccine clinic, and do whatever needs to be done behind the scenes to help pull it off. Event volunteers find it fun and rewarding to see so many seniors come together. Dan says, “DMCC is an amazing organization. Quite frankly, I have never witnessed such a dynamic program to help their community. Everyone that I have met appears to contribute 100%+ towards providing services and assisting the people of Del Mar.”
Thank You Dan!
Del Mar Garden Club
The Del Mar Garden Club is well known for its many projects that have beautified the Del Mar
community over the last few decades. Starting in 2020 and continuing into 2021, DMGC
branched out during the holiday season to assist Del Mar Community Connections with bringing
some love to senior citizens in the community. They have done such an incredible job with the
partnership, now called “Project Joy,” that DMCC board member Nicole Holliday nominated
them for Volunteer of the Month – the first time a group or organization has been awarded
with the designation.
The Del Mar Garden Club was founded in 1989 by Marnie Mahoney along with a group of
friends residing in 92014 who loved gardening. Marnie’s idea was to have meetings and field
trips, keeping it "simple, informative and fun.” The club has done many community projects
over the years, and today you may see members maintaining five gardens around Del Mar: the
library, the Post Office, Crest Rim, the Del Mar Community Building (DMCC’s headquarters), and
the 15th Street medians. The club has 45 members. According to DMGC president Mara Bickett,
“Being outside in nature, touching plants, touching soil, feeling the sunshine and breeze and
smelling the earth, flowers, foliage… there is a big endorphin surge! Also, we socialize, get some
exercise and vitamin D, and make the world a more beautiful place.”
In December 2020, when Covid cases were suddenly spiking again, DMCC had to quickly pivot
from a planned drive-through holiday party to a safer way to spread holiday cheer. The Del Mar
Garden Club stepped in at the last minute to make gift deliveries. The act of helping DMCC
cheered up the DMGC members during a rough time, and they came forward again in 2021 to
formally begin Project Joy as a Del Mar holiday tradition. “We felt Project Joy would be fun not
only for the recipients but also the Garden Club members. Turns out we were correct!” says
Project Joy leader Jill Gartman. Project Joy volunteers brought great ideas to the table,
designed a beautiful gift that included a wax amaryllis bulb and a small box of chocolates, and
provided the volunteers to assemble and deliver the gifts. Their efforts resulted in some very
DMCC partner organizations supplement DMCC’s efforts in the community by rallying their
organization’s talents and interests to benefit senior citizens. Jill Gartman says of working with
DMCC, “Everyone we interact with is gracious, and DMCC provides a vital service to senior
members of the Del Mar community.” To learn more about the Del Mar Garden Club, visit
delmargardenclub.org. To learn more about volunteer or partner opportunities with DMCC and
past volunteers of the month, visit dmcc.cc/volunteerofthemonth.
Thank You Del Mar Garden Club!