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Groups and individuals are needed to help organize activities and interact with patients at the Utah State Hospital.

Volunteers can work with children, youths, adults and geriatric patients. Children's volunteers can tutor young patients, read to them or visit with them.Volunteers may also assist physical therapists and organize off-site activities.

"Volunteers are important to the patients," said Shawna Peterson, hospital volunteer coordinator. "Volunteers make patients feel a part of the community."

Groups can participate in proj-ects by planning outdoor and athletic events for all ages. Volunteers can participate in sports events, such as softball and volleyball with patients. In addition, they can decorate for dances or other hospital activities and play Bingo with the patients.

Peterson said the Utah State Hospital is a good opportunity for those who work during the day because they can volunteer on evenings and weekends.

Volunteers with unique talents or travel experiences can organize and present miniclasses to patients. Classes are one-on-one to give patients more personalized attention.

The hospital snack shop also needs volunteers to serve food and work the cash register on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Volunteer times are flexible. Group projects can include volunteers of all ages; individual volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

Other volunteer opportunities include:

- Share friendship with frail or homebound seniors. The Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparents are looking for individuals, age 60 and older, to commit to 20 hours of service each week. Volunteers will visit, provide transportation and help with some personal and household needs of homebound seniors.

- Visit terminally ill, homebound patients. Hospice volunteers are needed by several organizations. Volunteers may visit with patients, read books, write letters, run errands, plan activities and outings or help with light housekeeping. Options depend upon the interest of the volunteer and the needs of the patient.

- Help staff of a local non-profit organization learn software. The staff of Concept Key, a latchkey program, needs a volunteer to help them better use Microsoft Works 4.0.

- Put carpentry skills to use helping the Professional Clothing Source in its new location. People are needed to hang shelves and reconstruct dressing rooms that were dismantled when the Professional Clothing Source boutique moved.

For more information about these and other service ideas, call the United Way of Utah County Volunteer Center at 374-8108, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.