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RAPE CRISIS TEAM NEEDS VOLUNTEERS

The Center for Women and Children in Crisis is seeking compassionate volunteers to work with victims of rape in Utah County.

Rape Crisis Team volunteers provide individualized support for rape victims. Volunteers respond to rape calls and assist victims during the entire criminal reporting process. Team members also provide emotional support to victims, their families, spouses or significant others.Volunteers are asked to be on call once a month for a 48-hour period. While on call, volunteers must be available to respond to any rape calls. Volunteers go directly to the hospital or police department.

Forty hours of training and preparation are required for people who want to be part of the Rape Crisis Team. Volunteers should be a least 18 years old. About 35 people are needed, including men.

"Men volunteers support the primary crisis worker and the family," said Kimberly Kowallis, volunteer coordinator. "Men help the mom, dad or husband of the victim."

The center needs 40 people to answer calls on a hotline for victims of rape, abuse or assault. Those who work for the hotline are asked to accept one four-hour shift each week. Kowallis said the advent of the new college semester has made the need for hotline volunteers critical.

Those interested in working with children can visit, play and read with young people who are faced with the effects of abuse at home. Children's volunteers are asked to accept at least one shift of one to two hours each week. Hours to volunteer are flexible.

Other service opportunities in Utah County include:

- Visit children with disabilities in their homes. Easter Seals' "Family Friends" program needs senior citizens ages 55 and older to be Family Friends for children with disabilities and their families. Children in American Fork, Highland and Orem are seeking Family Friends.

- Help as a signing interpreter. Tiny Tots Care Center needs people who know sign language to volunteer for a few hours each with hearing-impaired children.

- Serve as a teen mentor. Project Visions needs volunteers to work with at-risk youth in one-on-one and group activities. The program builds self-esteem, teaches leadership skills and prevents substance abuse, teen pregnancy and gang involvement. Hours are flexible and the program is held weekday evenings.

- Assist at the Orem Library's information desk. The library needs adult volunteers who will greet and help patrons get library cards, and direct visitors to resources.

For more information about the opportunities listed, or for more information about other community service options, call United Way of Utah County Volunteer Center at 374-8108. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.