Oakhurst Community Alliance seeks members

The Oakhurst Community Alliance (OCA) will host an informational meeting at 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 23, at the Oakhurst Community Center. The evening will include a presentation about the goals and activities of OCA, and an opportunity to join the organization, which seeks to improve the community.

OCA was established in 2011 to facilitate support for community activities. The goal was to create an entity which had input from all viewpoints in the Oakhurst area, and which could speak with one voice on issues of common interest.

This objective would be achieved by partnering with other organizations, assisting them in connecting with each other to achieve common goals. The group meets monthly to discuss issues that are relevant to the community and will begin holding quarterly membership meetings to seek public input.

“Just six months ago, I had never heard of the Oakhurst Community Alliance,” member Mike Baird, administrator at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church said. “I was invited to a meeting to give my perspective on the issue of homelessness in our community, and was immediately impressed by this group of individuals. Everyone on the board is someone who is actively involved in our community and a get-it-done type of person.”

Baird said most of the board members are involved in numerous local organizations and businesses. Realtors, attorneys, small business owners, church staff, entrepreneurs, county employees, and retirees are represented in the group. They are members of Rotary, Lions, Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library, and Mountain Ministerial Association.

Supporting small businesses, addressing unemployment, supporting efforts to serve the elderly, encouraging economic diversification, pursuing opportunities for job training and education, protecting the natural beauty of the area, and providing funding and resources in support of community organizations are issues OCA is interested in. The group works in cooperation with the county, state, and federal government agencies and other institutions to promote community benefits for Oakhurst and Eastern Madera County.

“When we talk about the issues concerning our community, each person in the room is uniquely positioned to go back to the people, organizations, and businesses in their sphere of influence and actually make things happen,” Baird said. “We really are focused on the things that matter most to our community. The need to establish a permanent emergency relief fund for the Oakhurst area is a perfect example of why a group like OCA exists. After the fire season we saw last year, the need for such a fund is tantamount.”

Baird explained that once established the fund would be available to assist individuals and families involved not only in natural disasters, but also other tragic or emergency situations.

“OCA is positioned to garner the support and resources we need to make something like this happen.”

Some of the current issues include: creating a collaborative community calendar, establishing a permanent emergency relief fund for the Mountain Area, and working with the county to acquire a piece of property suitable for long-term supportive housing for homeless individuals with disabilities.

Details: Mike Baird, (559) 676-6869.

- Oakhurst Community Alliance