The Gathering Place needs volunteers to provide support to mothers in prenatal classes, donate quilting supplies and fresh foods, and perform light office work such as organizing files.

The Gathering Place offers education, prevention and treatment for individuals suffering from substance abuse.For several years, The Gathering Place has provided a 12-week prenatal program to expectant women which seeks to reduce the number of children born each year with physical and mental defects caused by the mother's use of alcohol, tobacco, over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications or illegal drugs.

Female volunteers, ages 20 years and older, are needed to provide assistance three hours per week during the prenatal classes. In connection with the program, volunteers with sewing experience can help participants make handmade quilts. Donations of quilting supplies, including fabric, yarn and batting would be appreciated. In addition, there is a need for fresh fruits, vegetables and breads to be used in teaching expectant mothers about proper nutrition.

"Volunteers make a huge difference," said Kim Rime, prenatal program coordinator at the Gathering Place. "They bring a personal touch to our program through their own experiences.

When the women know that someone thinks they are important, it inspires them to be the best they can be."

The goal of The Gathering Place is to promote a drug and violence-free community through education and treatment. The agency provides individual, group and family therapy; emergency intervention; community outreach programs; and women's services. In an effort to join the global community, The Gathering Place has recently expanded to the Worldwide Web. Please visit their web site at (www.gatheringplace.org).

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

-Provide assistance to the Red Cross. The Central Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross needs volunteers to collect personal hygiene items and fill `comfort kits' which are given to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross will provide the boxes and a list of supplies needed for the kits. Groups and individuals are encouraged to volunteer.

-Mentor at-risk youth. Project Vision, a program administered by Community Action Services, is looking for "young at heart" volunteers, between the ages of 18-35, to be paired with a young person in the community coming from a low-income or homeless situation. Project Vision mentors should be willing to commit for a minimum of six months. Volunteers plan and participate in group and one-on-one activities, three hours per week, in the evenings. Amy Rasmussen, Project Vision coordinator, says that mentors are needed to provide young people with consistency and someone to look up to in an effort to break the cycle of poverty.

-Participate in RAH WALK '98. Volunteers are needed to collect pledges from friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Participants will then gather Saturday, May 30 to walk, roll, bike or stroll to help raise money for Recreation and Habilitation Services (RAH), a nonprofit agency that provides services to disabled individuals throughout Utah County. Prizes will be awarded.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities in 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).