In March, 1982, a small group of Oakhurst women dedicated themselves to the growth and enrichment of the community, and have done exactly that for the past 32 years - until now. Due to a dwindling membership, the decision has been made to dissolve the Service Organization of the Sierra (SOS).
“We came to realize that even though we have poured our hearts and souls into the organization’s success, we have acknowledged that we have reached a point where the continued operation of the organization was not a possibility with so few members,” said current SOS President Bonnie Warner.
Nina Strickland was the first president of SOS, and is credited with the organization’s first project - raising $500 for a scholarship to a graduating senior at Yosemite High School. A project that has continued since the organization’s inception, and has, in recent years, included scholarships for Glacier High School Charter and Minarets High totaling nearly $270,000. Last year, $7,400 was given to 12 graduating seniors, with mini-grants to elementary and middle school teachers for much-needed classroom supplies rounding out the total.
The organization has held more than 70 fundraisers over 32 years to raise funds for education.
Linda Seaberg, a past president of the organization, said in addition to the emphasis on education, the club has also supported Hinds Hospice, the Oakhurst Library, Mountain Area Literacy Council, and the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life.
Nearly 40 women were in SOS 10 years ago, but in recent years, the organization has had a significant drop in membership. According to Warner, only 14 participated in the last fundraising event, the Oct. 18 Halloween Bingo Night attended by about 150 people. It was learned at a recent meeting that several more members were leaving the organization at the end of the year.
“With so few members left, it became impossible to continue fundraising events,” Warner said.
Warner said the current group of women have worked diligently and have given their all to help raise funds in order to continue to give scholarships and mini grants, and they will be awarding them for the last time this spring.
“We wish to thank our wonderful community and many friends who have supported SOS for these past 32 years,” Seaberg said. “Without our generous community, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that we have done. We ask our Mountain Area residents to continue to support the many other wonderful service organizations in our community by attending their fundraising events.”