For many terminally ill people, volunteers are making a big difference in the remaining months of their lives.

Hospice of IHC Home Care offers terminally ill patients the alternative of remaining at home during their illness with the aid of home health doctors, nurses and community volunteers."The volunteer is a valuable resource to the patient and the family," said Phyllis Hansen, volunteer coordinator. Hospice volunteers provide emotional support and offer relief to the family by providing a respite while the care-giver rests or keeps personal appointments.

Volunteers must attend training before they begin working. Charlene Deeben, hospice supervisor, said that the next training will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15 and 22. Volunteers must attend either the afternoon or evening sessions on both days.

During training, volunteers are taught about giving emotional support, being sensitive to the situation, and helping others deal with the death process.

Once trained, volunteers are usually on call one day a week. Deeben said volunteers may choose which day they are available for service, and must commit to stay with the program for at least one year.

Interested people may call the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108 for more information.

Other community volunteer opportunities include:

-Volunteer swimming helpers are needed to give aid to handicapped children every Friday afternoon.

-Volunteers are needed to help several mornings each month telephoning homebound senior citizens to assure that they are all right.

-Rape Crisis team volunteers are needed to help rape victims and their families. Training begins soon, and an eight-month commitment is required.

For more information on these and other volunteer opportunities, call the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108.