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The New Horizons Crisis Center in Richfield, serving south-central Utah, is facing a $40,000 budget shortfall for 1994-95 that could affect a relatively new "At Risk Youth" program.

Other programs that help in cases of parental and spouse abuse could also be hurt, according to Linda Whitlock, director. She noted that southern and central Utah's rural counties receive only about 20 percent of available funding because it is determined by the government agencies on a population basis, with most going to northern Utah."We received a small grant of $1,000 from the Utah State Board of Education and a matching amount from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department," she said.

The center, with headquarters in Richfield, has launched a sponsorship donation program to raise funding, according to Jeannine Chisholm, volunteer public relations representative. She said sponsors will be listed on posters and mentioned in other publicity unless they request anonymity.

A sponsor donating between $100 and $199 will be recognized as a "friend" of the center, one who contributes $200 to $399 as a "donor," and a contributor of $400 or more as a "benefactor."

Whitlock said the "At Risk Youth" program has been in effect only a few months "and we are already seeing benefits . . . we are really excited. We are trying to break the cycle of violence and need to start with the kids."

But, without funding, the program could be lost, she added.

The director said among the program's objectives are to build character, honesty, self-control and courage. Also, improve parents' relationships through varied skills.

Children who suffer abuse from their parents are the most "at risk" among the population, New Horizons officials concluded. "In 50 percent of the cases the child is also abused, but in every case the child's physical and emotional needs are neglected," Whitlock said.

"The immediate impact of this exposure can be traumatic - fear for self, fear for mother's safety and self-blame. The child who witnesses parental violence can experience disorders such as stut-ter-ing, anxiety, fear, sleep disruptions and an inability to cope in school."

New Horizons workers, many of them volunteers, help children and parents in Sevier, Sanpete, Wayne, Piute, Millard and Juab counties. "We are always in need of volunteers, whether they work on just an occasional single project or contribute more extended service," Whitlock said.

She noted the children are being involved in community projects. For instance, one of the most recent consisted of visiting and developing relationships with the elderly and handicapped by drawing pictures, writing poems, providing entertainment and other activities.

Younger children have also been involved in garbage pickup at city parks, and older teens will cooperate with the Fishlake National Forest this year in cleaning paths.