March 03, 2006

Search-rescue group holding open house

Maryland Search and Rescue, also known as BSA Venture Crew 616, will hold an open house for young men and women ages 14 to 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 12367 Route 216, Highland.

The group, which meets Monday nights, is focused on wilderness lost-person searching. Training consists of hiking, backpacking, land navigation, all-weather camping, rock climbing, rappelling, search tactics and first aid. The program is run by youth members with the help of adult advisers.

Information: Art Ross, 410-740-2913.

Docents, guides being sought

Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City is seeking volunteer docents and tour guides to help with the park's programs and activities. Training is provided.

Volunteers will have an opportunity to learn about the history of the stabilized ruins of Patapsco Female Institute, one of the most famous 19th-century schools for girls in the United States, a Greek Revival structure that overlooks the Patapsco River Valley.

Information: 410-465-8500.

Advocates for kids sought by group

Voices for Children, a nonprofit organization, is seeking volunteers to be court-appointed advocates and mentors to abused, neglected and at-risk children in Howard County.

Voices for Children is part of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association that provides advocates to children involved with the juvenile court system. Volunteers must be at least 21, complete a 30-hour training program and undergo a background check.

They will work with children, their families, agency professionals and the courts to ensure that the children are safe and receive appropriate services. Applications are being accepted for the next training session, in April.

Information or for an application: 410-740-0933, or Voices for Children, Suite 215, 5550 Sterrett Place, Columbia.

Facilitators sought for senior groups

SPRING, a program of the Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging, will offer its annual Initial Facilitator Training to prepare volunteers to lead support groups.

The eight weekly training sessions begin March 10 at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. The cost is $30.

SPRING groups provide a confidential, comfortable setting for older men and women to share concerns, insights and ideas. Facilitators should have good listening skills and empathy. The groups are held at senior centers and other venues.

Sponsorship is available for up to three candidates interested in training. Facilitators receive a SPRING training manual and are invited to an annual facilitator luncheon.

SPRING is an acronym for Senior Peer Resources, Individuals, Networks and Groups.

Information: Karen Hull, mental health coordinator, Office on Aging, 410-313-7466.

Disaster-readiness groups need helpers

The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, in cooperation with the Community Emergency Response Network, is recruiting volunteers for local nonprofit and government agencies needing help with disaster preparedness and recovery.

Information: 410-715-3179.

Habitat Stewards training scheduled

Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks and the National Wildlife Federation will offer Habitat Stewards training this month to volunteers interested in wildlife, ecology, gardening and habitat conservation.

The Habitat Stewards will be available to help members of their communities develop and restore wildlife habitats in backyards, schoolyards and other public and private sites.

The training will provide familiarity with native plants, local natural history, butterflies and insects, birds, mammals and amphibians. Also taught will be skills in site inventory and mapping, gardening for wildlife and creating water features in a garden.

Training is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 and 30 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25, at Recreation and Parks headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.

The cost is $35, including materials. Participants should take a meal for the evening sessions and a lunch for the Saturday session.

To retain certification, Habitat Stewards, who must be ages 18 or older, are asked to contribute 50 volunteer hours to the National Wildlife Federation and help with certification of Backyard Wildlife Habitat sites of at least three backyards or one schoolyard within a year of completing the training.

Applications must be submitted by March 7.

Information or to request an application: Brenda Belensky, 410-313-4724. Or e-mail bbelen sky@co.ho.md.us.

Club LEAP needs tutors, assistants

Volunteer tutors and assistants are needed for Club LEAP (Learning English After School Program), an effort to help youngsters who are new to the United States learn to speak, read and write English.

The program, sponsored by FIRN Inc., a Howard County nonprofit organization providing services to immigrants, is held in county schools throughout the school year. Training is provided.

Information: Don Downing, 410-992-1923, ext. 14.

Pregnancy-aid group seeks help

Better BedRest Inc., a nonprofit support, resource and referral service for women placed on bed rest because of complications during pregnancy, is seeking telephone volunteers who have had a bed-rest experience or a connection with such an experience.

An interview is required, and training is provided. Volunteers are also needed to help with fundraising.

Better BedRest expects to help as many as 15 Howard County women this year.

Information: 410-740-7662.

Send volunteer announcements to fay.lande@baltsun.com or fax to 410 715-2816.

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