Delivering Vital Connections

While the world has been turned upside down for many over the past several months due to COVID-19, the staff of The O’Neill Center and Belpre Senior Center have been busy figuring out their reopening plans. Events and activities that have been put on hold are slowly but surely returning. But one thing has not changed: the necessity of senior centers across the country.

September is National Senior Center Month and the Mid-Ohio Valley is lucky to have two such centers: The O’Neill Center on Fourth Street in Marietta and the Belpre Senior Center on Washington Boulevard in Belpre.

I joined the staff of The O’Neill Center this month and I already feel so proud of what we do. I have heard the stories from longtime staffers – people who drive our community’s seniors to doctor appointments, caring folks in the Adult Day Center who care – I mean REALLY care – for the clients, dedicated activities coordinators who are so excited to see people come through the doors again. And when the line dancers get together in the parking lot? Boy, you can’t help but smile.

No, we’re not a nursing home; no we’re not an assisted living facility; we are a center that provides a wide range of enriching, engaging and empowering activities and services for today’s seniors. Whether it be a simple outing for a few hours to break up the monotony or something a little more serious like needing help figuring out Medicare, The O’Neill Center strives to help older adults be H.I.P.: Healthy, Independent and Productive.

The theme of this year’s National Senior Center Month is Delivering Vital Connections. When I first spoke with Connie Huntsman, Executive Director, about working at The O’Neill, that is exactly what I said to her. The Center provides vital services and personal connections that so many of our community’s seniors want and need. How could I not want to be a part of something so positive and so necessary for our community? 

As I mentioned, we are opening up slowly to more in-person activities. Our transportation services are busy, as are our Living Assistance and Adult Day Care programs. But we are also still offering our virtual Zoom classes in cooking, yoga, dance and more for those who have been enjoying them and those who may not be ready to venture out just yet. We understand. But know that we will be here for you when you’re ready to come visit. The videos can also be found on our O’Neill Center YouTube channel.

I am thrilled and honored to be offered this platform to talk monthly about The O’Neill Center, its vital importance to the community, all of the businesses and leaders who help us to succeed, and all the ways we’re growing and changing.

If you are unfamiliar with all we have to offer, please don’t hesitate to call (740) 373-3914 in Marietta or (740) 423-6022 in Belpre to talk with one of our amazing staffers. Or visit our website at We’re also on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta.