Utah County police departments are looking for volunteers to help organize and participate in Neighborhood Watch programs in their communities.

"If we exist together, without working together, we won't get anywhere," said Sandy Bready, community education coordinator for the Utah County Sheriff's Department.Members of Neighborhood Watch will learn to make their homes more secure and report suspicious activities to the police or sheriff's office.

Watch groups make their neighborhood safer by providing extra eyes and ears to report crime.

"Communities who have active Neighborhood Watch programs see a decrease in crime," said Bready. "I think our common goal as a police department and as a community is to have safer communities to live in."

Volunteers from all age groups and living situations are welcome to get involved. Watch groups can be established around any geographical unit including blocks, apartments, parks, business areas, offices, and public housing complexes.

Other volunteer opportunities are available throughout Utah County. They include:

- Help prepare for an Easter egg hunt. Provo Parks and Recreation is holding an Easter egg hunt and "trim an egg" celebration on Saturday, April 11. Volunteers are needed to help before, during and after the event. Duties include setting up pavilions with decorating supplies, passing out hard boiled eggs for children to decorate, handing out candy and helping clean up. The event will be at Exchange Park, at 900 N. 700 West.

- Help make wishes come true for children. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, a non-profit agency that grants wishes for children challenged by life-threatening illnesses, is forming a volunteer committee in Utah County. Volunteers are needed to focus on wish granting, special events, medical outreach and public speaking.

Volunteers are also needed to plan special events such as parties for wish kids, to instruct medical professionals in Utah County how to refer eligible children to Make-A-Wish and to visit schools and attend events to explain the Make-A-Wish Foundation to those who are interested in helping. Volunteers need to be self-motivated, dependable, organized, creative and should have excellent interpersonal skills. Leadership opportunities will be available for those who are interested.

- Join in canning food to help the hungry. Volunteers are needed Tuesday to can food to be donated to non-profit agencies that serve individuals and families in Utah Valley who need help. Volunteers will can pork and beans at the Lindon Welfare Cannery of the LDS Church.

Individuals and groups are needed to work during one of three shifts between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Twenty-four volunteers are needed during each of the first two shifts, beginning at 8 and 11 a.m., to help with processing. Also, 30 volunteers are needed during the third shift, beginning at 2 p.m., to help with cleanup, labeling and box making. Volunteers must preregister with the United Way Volunteer Center.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities throughout Utah County, contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit the United Way of Utah County Web site at (www.unitedwayuc.org).