Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Guest Post: An Oakland Mills Farewell

I received this letter from Oakland Mills Village Manager Sandy Cederbaum right before Christmas. On this last day of the year I want to thank Fred Eiland for his work and say goodbye to the Community Organizer position, which grew out of the OM Revitalization. Over the years it evolved into being a liaison between the voiceless and underserved and the OMCA.


Oakland Mills Community,

This week marks the conclusion of the Community Organizer position that Fred Eiland has held for the past 4 ½ years. The Community Organizer was created for Oakland Mills nine years ago and funded for the majority of time by the Columbia Association.

Beginning in May 2014, the Community Organizer was funded through a new Columbia Association Village Community Grant. The current grant allows each of Columbia's 10 Village Associations to request up to $10,000 for annual community initiatives. Oakland Mills was awarded its grant and used it for Fred Eiland to continue as our Community Organizer and work on community projects. This week marks the end of the community organizer grant for which Fred has been fully compensated.

Oakland Mills has benefited greatly by having a community organizer. Our first community organizer was Councilman Calvin Ball and the initiatives started under Councilman Ball continue to this day. As Community Organizer for the past 4+ years, Fred Eiland moved forward with our community programs and created many new community outreach initiatives. Fred reached out to residents in the community, organizations, and non-profits who for years had not been engaged or felt welcome to be a part of Oakland Mills. We are all better for the role of the community organizer in Oakland Mills and thank Fred Eiland for making a huge difference in our community and in the lives of the residents. We thank Fred for everything he did for the village and for his commitment, compassion and personal outreach.

The initiatives that were started with the community organizer position will continue in Oakland Mills. Our Street Captain program is key to connecting neighbors with neighbors and this program will not only continue but it will continue to grow! We'll be reaching out to our current street captains in early January and creating a marketing plan to recruit more residents as street captains. Our goal is to have a street captain on each and every street in our village.

We'll continue to help our neighbors with the ongoing food collection and monthly distribution and thank the dedicated volunteers and partners who keep this program going strong. The distribution date is the 3rd Saturday morning of each month at the Forest Ridge Community Center. If you are planning out your calendar for the new year we hope you will consider saving this date to volunteer for the food distribution.

It continues to "take a village" and we know that the residents of Oakland Mills will continue to make our village the one that we are proud to call home.


If you have strong feelings about caring for the people in your community, I would strongly encourage you to consider running for your local Village Board. Make a New Year's Resolution to get involved.



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