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Utahns challenged to take part in service activities

PROVO -- Utah residents have been issued a challenge to participate in statewide service activities during the month of July.

Gov. Mike Leavitt has declared Saturday, July 17, as "Take Pride in Utah Day" and is encouraging residents to take a part. Individuals across Utah will be mobilized to complete many projects within local communities.Residents are encouraged to form groups and plan worthwhile acts of service that can be completed during the event. Volunteers can beautify their neighborhoods by cleaning school parking lots and grounds, removing weeds from empty lots, picking up litter or maintaining other shared common areas in the community, such as parks and cemeteries. Some elderly or disabled residents may need help maintaining their yards or fixing up their homes.

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

-- Be a volunteer vendor at the Freedom Festival Parade. Volunteers are needed for vending booths that will line the annual Provo Independence Day parade, Monday, July 5. To receive a booth assignment, a group must have at least 10 volunteers of any age, directed by at least one adult. They will sell various foods, drinks and products to spectators lining the parade route. Each group may keep 25 percent of the money it earns. The three booths that sell the most will receive cash prizes of $125.

-- Help children celebrate the arts. Approximately 300 volunteers are needed for an upcoming child's community art event in Provo. On Saturday, July 10, the Provo Arts Council will sponsor the 17th annual Children's Celebration of the Arts at Provo's Pioneer Park, 550 W. Center. The event will feature performers throughout the day and a variety of arts and crafts for children. One or more of three shifts are available: 9 a.m. to noon, noon to 3 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Approximately 100 volunteers are needed for each shift. Volunteers should dress appropriately for summer weather.

-- Answer phones for the Crisis Line. Crisis Line of Utah County needs mature volunteers to answer hotline calls from people in crisis. Volunteers are also needed to provide activities for the "Phone Pal" program, and 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. Volunteers may set their own schedules but are asked to commit to a three- or four-hour block each week. There is an acute need for volunteers between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by e-mail (volunteer@unitedwayuc.org), or visit the searchable database on the United Way of Utah County Web site www.unitedwayuc.org.