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Utah County hotline seeks people to help callers in crisis

PROVO -- Crisis Line of Utah County needs mature volunteers to answer hotline calls from people in crisis. Volunteers will provide a listening ear to people who call Crisis Line for help with serious problems.

"We act as a middleman between people in crisis and the appropriate agencies in the community," said Monica Ulrich, director of Crisis Line. "Our goal is to help people get through their current crisis and to then refer them to the long-term care they may need."Crisis intervention includes information and referral services for homeless people, suicide prevention, rape intervention, help for those in abusive relationships and confidential listening.

"Volunteering at Crisis Line allows volunteers a chance to interact with people from all sorts of backgrounds," Ulrich said. "Crisis Line helps them to be more understanding toward people and the problems they're facing."

Crisis Line of Utah County is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteers may set their own schedules but are asked to commit to a three or four-hour block each week. At the present time, Crisis Line is especially in need of volunteers between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. because they do not have enough volunteers to keep the phones in continuous operation during the morning hours.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and will need to complete 12 hours of training before answering phone lines. A four-month commitment is preferred, but arrangements will be made for students or others who may not be available for four months at a time.

Crisis Line also needs volunteers to provide activities for the "Phone Pal" program. Volunteer groups are needed to compile lists of fun games and crafts that can be given to children who call and are alone, bored or scared.

Other volunteer opportunities are available throughout Utah County. Some of these are listed below.

-- Provide support to new parents. The Utah County Success by Six program needs volunteers -- preferably experienced parents, grandparents, or care givers -- to visit new parents, either at home or in the hospital. Volunteers will be trained to discuss community resources available for infants and children and will assist parents in establishing a support system. Volunteers are needed in the Orem, Payson and Spanish Fork areas.

-- Donate blood to Red Cross. The Greater Utah County Chapter of the American Red Cross needs community members to donate blood at its Orem blood bank. They take both appointments and walk-in volunteers every Monday and Wednesday. The Red Cross also needs youth or adults to serve cookies and juice to donors and monitor their progress after donating blood. For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities in Utah County, contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by e-mail at volunteer@unitedwayuc.org, or visit the searchable database on the United Way of Utah County Web site (www.unitedwayuc.org).