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Calling All Community Heroes

MOUNTAIN AREA – Besides the stunning natural beauty of the foothills, another valuable resource is locally abundant: the volunteer spirit. We asked SNO readers on Facebook to help us compile a list of volunteer opportunities, and heard from schools, churches, law enforcement, libraries, theaters, campgrounds and more.

Here are volunteer positions from which to choose; the list is updated frequently.

Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park

The Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park is a 241-acre nature park in the community of Ahwahnee on Highway 49 in Madera County. It serves as a natural oak habitat resource for recreation and education for Madera County and the surrounding counties. The park land is owned by Madera County, but the day-to-day operation, maintenance, and improvements are the responsibility of the Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, a non-profit organization formed for this purpose. Volunteers are sought for light park maintenance including pruning of shrubs and trees, and keeping trails clear. The Oak Acorn Center is being built and when it’s finished they can use clean-up support, and landscaping. Anyone with information about the property’s past incarnation as sanitarium and boys’ home is encouraged to share their knowledge and artifacts can be donated or loaned to the interpretive center. Volunteers are also needed to catalog and restock the center. Contact Fern Facchino and Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park for information.

Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park website

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Group at the Sierra Senior Center

The Sierra Senior Society sponsors a Caregiver Respite Group every Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sierra Senior Center. The cost for respite care is $15 per person for the 4 hour day. The arrangement gives caregivers an opportunity to take a break while their family member enjoys a structured day of activities, socialization and personal care assistance provided by kind, experienced volunteers. Barbara Leath and Jennie Flaherty are regular volunteers for the Caregiver Respite Group, which welcomes loved ones of any caregivers in need of time off, including family members with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke survivors, along with the disabled and the elderly. They’re looking for help specifically with easy art projects for the group, saying they are, themselves, “craft-challenged.”

Sierra Senior Center on Facebook

Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst

Boys & Girls Club’s goal is to enable all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Club doors are open during the school year from the time the last school bell rings to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, for children from kindergarden to age 18. Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of the BGC from sports, and crafts, to homework club, and more. Individuals with special skill sets, collections and interests are encouraged to contact the BGC for more information.

Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst

Citizens on Patrol (COPs)

Citizens on Patrol (COPs) plays a vital role in traffic control, search & rescue missions, and disasters. They’ve been called a second pair of “eyes and ears” for the Sheriff’s Office. While their role is to assist law enforcement, many have been trained to work the front lines as first responders. The job requires extensive training and certification which is funded by the volunteers themselves.

Contact Joanne Evans at (559) 232-8755 or email

Citizens on Patrol (COPs) Madera County

Golden Chain Theatre

During the summer season Golden Chain Theatre features true old melodramas, where you boo and hiss at the evil villain and cheer and sigh for the heroine. Golden Chain also offers historical plays, dramas, and musicals throughout the season. Volunteers are needed to help with stage crew, building maintenance, wardrobe, props, music, lighting and other essential elements of the theater. Contact Jennifer Piccolotti for more information.

Golden Chain Theatre on Facebook

Grace Community Church Thrift Shop

Grace Community Church in North Fork is looking for volunteers to help run the thrift store, open two days a week. Proceeds go to help fund programs and projects in schools and to promote community in North Fork and beyond.

Contact Sandy Chaille at (559) 877-7796

Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias

Friends of Nelder Grove is an informal group of citizens dedicated to better understanding the cultural and natural history of Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias, leading to its use and enjoyment by the visiting public. Volunteers are needed to help with trail maintenance, greeting visitors, campground patrol, publicity, fundraising and more. Contact Brenda Negley.

Nelder Grove website

North Fork Library

The Friends of the North Fork Library are looking for board members. Elections are in April and meetings are every third Wednesday (excluding December), at 1 p.m. at the North Fork Library.

North Fork Library on Facebook

North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary

The North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary is the fundraising arm of the volunteer fire department, providing much-needed funds for critical lifesaving equipment. The Auxiliary hosts an annual bar-b-que every April which is their major fundraiser of the year. Volunteers are needed to participate in monthly meetings and work on the fundraiser, including silent auction, meal prep, clean-up and more.

Contact Sandy Chaille at (559) 877-7796

Oakhurst Mountain Lions Club

The Oakhurst Mountain Lions Club, whose motto is “we serve,” meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m., at the Best Western in Oakhurst. Many volunteer opportunities are available through Oakhurst Mountain Lions, including the famous Haunted House in October. As one of their major fundraisers, that event is all-year in the planning and help is needed with everything from securing props and location to actually dressing up and scaring the socks off haunted house visitors. Club President is Steve Miller and Secretary is Garret Madsen.

Oakhurst Mountain Lions on Facebook

Sierra Mountain Little League

Bill Ward says, “We are looking for someone to oversee our Sierra Mountain Little League snack shed. This would include inventory control, duty assignments and a chance to hang with the coolest folks and kids around.”

Sierra Mountain Little League on Facebook

Wasuma Elementary School PTA

Wasuma Elementary School PTA invites interested parents, guardians and community members who support the Wildcats to contribute time and resources. Dalene Stephens says the PTA “can always use a few extra hands,” whether it’s help with fundraising, school events, or the Christmas tree lot.

Wasuma Elementary School on Facebook

Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau

The Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau represents Madera County as California’s Gateway to Yosemite and promotes the gateway communities in the county. Volunteers help greet and guide visitors from around the world, providing maps, brochures, ideas and a personal touch to tourists who pass through Oakhurst on their way to Yosemite. Contact Judy Hussain.

Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau on Facebook

As reader Betsy Gabriel says, “Volunteering is a fabulous way to support your community, yourself and your self-satisfaction, and you get to meet new people and learn new things.”

If you’re looking for a great way to make a big difference, the new year is a perfect time to volunteer.

Does your organization have a need for volunteers? Email and we’ll include the information on our master list.

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