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Project HOPE to help Katrina victims in area

Hurricane Katrina continues to haunt many of the victims who have since moved on to new lives in new locations. Many who fled the storm and relocated still suffer from residual psychological and financial effects.

A program that originally began in 2004 after Hurricane Charley devasted areas of Charlotte and DeSoto counties is offering help. Project HOPE (Helping Our People in Emergencies) is an outreach and referral service aimed at helping Katrina victims living in the area rebuild their lives.

Programs offered include outreach, group and individual crisis counseling, and referrals of resources within the community. Special programs focus on the most vulnerable of victims, children and the elderly.

Hurricane Katrina victims who live in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties are eligible.

Founded by the Florida Center for Child and Family Development, in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families, the program will likely be extended through the end of the year.

For details, call the Project HOPE Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-8255.

DUNEDIN

Business analyst offers help sessions

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce is hosting free and confidential sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the third Thursday of every month. Mario Iezzoni, Pinellas area manager and certified business analyst for the University of South Florida's Small Business Development Center, will run the sessions at the chamber, 301 Main St.

Iezzoni can address questions about starting or expanding a business, marketing, finances and funding, human resources and more. The hourlong sessions are open to anyone. To make an appointment, call the chamber at (727) 733-3197.

CLEARWATER

Volunteers needed for library gift store

Volunteers who like to be around books and people are needed at the Friends Book & Gift Store at the Clearwater Main Library. A short training session is required. The store is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To volunteer, call Rosalie Murray at (727) 531-0667 or Rita Garvey at (727) 446-3845.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Recreation, nature center to offer classes

A variety of homeschool classes are being offered at Highland and Southwest Recreation Complex and McGough Nature Center. Classes include physical education, crafts, drama, science and nature for youths in grades K-6 and nutrition and fitness for grades 7-12. For information on dates, times and fees, call (727) 518-3016.

UPPER PINELLAS

Literacy Council offers help to improve English

The Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas has certified tutors available to teach individuals who wish to learn English or those who need to improve their reading and writing skills.

Sessions are free, and hours are flexible. For information, call the Literacy Council at the Dunedin Public Library, (727) 298-3080, ext. 242.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Use Guide to Giving to give back

The Girls Guide to Giving is a directory of nonprofit agencies throughout Pinellas County offering volunteer opportunities.

Groups of young women can participate in projects such as peer interaction, service learning and "how to'' projects.

The guide lists agencies, contact information, group capacities and minimum age requirements and is available online at www.211tampabay.org or by calling (727) 210-4233, ext. 4557.

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