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Practical View


U nrecovered from the riots, still in economic recession and coping with slashed government services, Southern California has an ongoing need for helping hands at nonprofit agencies that provide care--for children, for the elderly, for the sick, for the needy and for the environment and the arts.

The following list emphasizes volunteer opportunities for retired people who would like to explore new fields and are available to serve charities on weekdays. Younger volunteers are also welcome.

We couldn't include every agency that seeks volunteers, so if you don't find any listed in your neighborhood or area of interest, call city or county volunteer agencies.

Work With Youth

* Neighborhood Youth Assn.'s Linking Lifetimes Program in West Los Angeles is seeking mature men and women to work with children ages 12 to 14. Volunteers provide friendship and guidance; orientation and training is provided. Information: (310) 390-6641.

* Junior Achievement of Southern California Inc. needs people to share their business expertise with junior and senior high school students. The activity-based classes are during school hours. Volunteers receive training, lesson plans and classroom materials. A commitment to conduct at least 12 one-hour sessions is requested. Information: Lisa Daggett, (213) 957-1818.

* People are needed to answer telephones and help with clerical work at the Alliance for Children's Rights, a nonprofit agency providing free legal service to low-income children in Los Angeles. Morning or afternoon shifts are available. Information: (213) 368-6010.

* Surrogate grandparents provide companionship to children through the Family Friends Project. Information: Terry Shajirat, San Fernando Valley, (818) 761-3447; Laura Torjesen, Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, (818) 397-3001; Darlene Basch, Los Angeles and West Los Angeles, (310) 825-9647.

* The Child Advocates Office of the Superior Court needs volunteers to look out for the interests of children in foster care. Advocates are assigned by judges to assess the circumstances of children and make recommendations to the court. Advocates must have some flexibility in their weekday schedule for the five-day mandatory training session, occasional court hearings and other case assignment duties. Information: (213) 526-6666.

* Homeless Youth, a program of the youth services department of Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services, receives survival resources and help in getting kids off the streets from Street Outreach volunteers. The work includes AIDS education and providing friendship. A commitment of two days a month for six months is requested. Information: Patrick Cusack or Maggie Haumann, (213) 993-7452.

* Operation School Bell, a project of the Assistance League of Southern California, provides children from impoverished families with new clothing, personal grooming kits, books and toys. The league also uses volunteers to help operate preschool and kindergarten programs for children ages 2 to 6. Information: (213) 469-1973.

Deliver Meals

* Meals on Wheels needs people to deliver daily hot lunches to shut-ins throughout the area on weekdays. In Whittier, (310) 698-2750; West Los Angeles, Caressa Carlstedt or Cita Cohen, (310) 208-3439; Lakewood, Catherine Helms, (310) 925-8747; Bellflower, Gladys Holma (310) 804-1424; other areas, (213) 738-4006.

* Project Angel Food needs drivers to deliver meals to patients with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. Information: Marie Stinner or David King, (213) 656-9615.

* Frontline Foundation in Van Nuys needs volunteers to cook and collect and transport food to the homeless on Skid Row. Information: (818) 780-1995.

* Volunteers for Project: Let's Help pick up food contributions from Westside restaurants, supermarkets and bakeries and clothing donations and deliver the items to the project's warehouse in the Pico-Robertson area. A commitment of two hours per week is required. Information: (310) 276-1955 or (310) 274-2040.

Promote Cultural Institutions

* University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, is offering expanded docent opportunities. Upon completion of a fall training program, volunteers will conduct tours in the spring. An orientation session will be held Aug. 31. Information/applications: (310) 985-5761.

* The Docent Guild at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda is seeking volunteers to greet visitors and lead tours for schoolchildren. Information: Evelyn Young, (714) 993-5075.

* The Pasadena chapter of the United Nations Assn. disseminates information about the work of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Also at the site are a gift shop and library. Volunteers teach classes, run seminars, provide assistance in the library and shop, and do public speaking and fund-raising. Information: (818) 449-1795.

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