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GUARDIAN AD LITEM LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS

COUNTYWIDE

Pinellas County's Guardian Ad Litem program will soon begin training volunteers to act as the courtroom voice for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

Guardian ad Litem volunteers visit the child once a month, become familiar with his or her case and make recommendations to help ensure the child has a safe, caring and stable environment. The average time needed is four to six hours a month.

Thirty hours of training are required, and guardians receive ongoing assistance. The next class starts Feb. 16 at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg.

To volunteer and arrange to attend a one hour orientation, call (727) 464-6528. For more information, a training schedule and an application go to www.guardianadlitem6.org .

COUNTYWIDE

Affordable housing, services at Goodwill

Did you know Goodwill offers affordable living options for people with low incomes, including seniors and people with disabilities? Goodwill's Freedom Villages, in Tampa, Pinellas Park and Clearwater, offer one- and two-bedroom apartments. Heritage Oaks in Palm Harbor offers one-bedroom apartments for people 62 and older with low incomes.

All four properties feature well-maintained buildings with community rooms and common areas. On-site Goodwill service coordinators at each facility help residents connect with community resources and services.

The HUD-subsidized apartment buildings, owned and operated by Goodwill Industries-Suncoast, are architecturally barrier-free to accommodate the needs of people with physical disabilities.

There are often waiting lists for these apartments. Prospective residents should call the property in which they are interested to check availability or to be put on a waiting list. The four Goodwill apartment communities are:

- Freedom Village I, 7700 66th St. N, Pinellas Park, (727) 541-6620

- Freedom Village II, 5002 S Bridge St., Tampa, (813) 831-6988

- Freedom Village III, 1167 Turner St., Clearwater, (727) 443-6799

- Heritage Oaks of Palm Harbor, 2351 Alderman Road, Palm Harbor, (727) 787-0792

For general information about Goodwill apartments, visit the Housing page at www.goodwill-suncoast.com.

COUNTYWIDE

Parent Aide Program seeks volunteers

You can assist parents who are seeking help

The Parent Aide Program needs volunteers to help those who are looking to become better parents.

Aides spend one to two hours each week mentoring a parent.

For more information, call Kerri Pedersen at 399-5744, ext. 168, or visit www.HelpAChild.org.

COUNTYWIDE

Team ready to help spay and neuter pets

February is spay/neuter month. SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Together) is teaming up with local veterinarians in Pinellas County to offer low-cost spay/neuter for cats and dogs.

Any cat or dog at least 8 weeks old can be signed up. Special "neuterathon" prices: male cats $35, female cats $40, male dogs $40 and female dogs $45-$90 depending on weight.

SPOT offers low-cost spay/neuter vouchers available online at www.SPOTusa.org or call (727) 545-3463 for more information.

COUNTYWIDE

Are you good at negotiating?

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs is seeking men and women of all professional and cultural backgrounds who have concerns of residents' rights and are good at negotiating and advocating.Mileage and meal reimbursements are provided at the state rate for all official ombudsman duties. Call 588-6912 or toll-free 1-888-831-0404 to apply for the next training class.

COUNTYWIDE

BOWser Games needs dogs, owners, vendors

The Pinellas Animal Foundation's sixth annual BOWser Games is looking for vendors (nonfood), artisans and crafters to participate in the event on Saturday.

The games are a celebration of the human/animal bond where dogs and their owners can enjoy agility and disc demonstrations, participate in fun contests and much more. For information or an application, call 347-7387.

DUNEDIN

Guided nature walks offered on Saturdays

See a variety of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat on guided walks with Florida Park Service rangers at Honeymoon Island State Park at 11 a.m. every Saturday through March.

The walks are free, however, there is a park entrance fee of $5 for two to eight people in a vehicle, $3 for one person in a vehicle and $1 for walkers or bicyclists.

Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and may want to bring binoculars and a field guide.

Meet the ranger at the beginning of the Nature Trail. The park is at 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin. For more information, call the park at (727) 469-5942 or visit www.floridastateparks.org.

CLEARWATER

Got a questionfor a judge?

The People's Law School will continue weekly at the Drew Street campus of St. Petersburg College on Thursdays through April. Participants may attend as few or as many sessions as they wish, free of charge. No registration is required. For information, call (727) 461-4869 or visit www.clearwaterbar.org.

The class schedule:

- Thursday, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Condominium Law; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Landlord Tenant Law.

- Feb. 14, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Purchasing Real Estate; 8:05 to 9 p.m. Mortgages.

- Feb. 21, 7 to 9 p.m., To be announced.

- Feb. 28, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Construction Contracts; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Mechanic's Liens.

- March 6, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Consumer Complaints; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Mediation & Arbitration.

- March 13, 7 to 9 p.m., Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning.

- March 20, No class. Spring Break.

- March 27, 7 to 7:55 p.m., State of Our Circuit; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Small Claims.

- April 3, 7 to 9 p.m., Family Law.

- April 10, 7 to 9 p.m., Bankruptcy.

- April 17, 7 to 9 p.m., Contract & Business Law.

- April 24, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Identity Theft; 8:06 to 9 p.m. Graduation.

LARGO

Got rhythm? Join the drum circle

Bring a drum or other percussion instrument to the drum circle at 6 p.m. the first Saturday of each month at George C. McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St. N.

Listeners of all ages are invited to relax by the campfire and enjoy the rhythms led by Barry Skeete. Admission is $2 for those 13 and older. Call (727) 587-6775.

COUNTYWIDE

Apply now for groups' $1,000 scholarships

Two Italian-American associations are offering $1,000 scholarships to high school graduates and returning students.

The applicants must be Florida residents and of Italian descent. The scholarships are available through the Daughters of Italy Lodge 2825 and the Clearwater chapter of Order of the Sons of Italy in America.

For information, call Clara Shaw, Daughters of Italy scholarship chairwoman, at (727) 785-6428 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Applications available on the Web at www.daughtersofitaly.com.

The deadline is March 27.

DUNEDIN

Load up on food and more at green market

Dunedin's Green Market at the corner of Main Street and Douglas Avenue features produce, cheeses, seafood, plants and herbs, honey, all-natural pet treats, organic products, nuts, natural seasonings and fresh fruit.

Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday through the end of April.

For information, call market manager Richard Kendler at (727) 733-4215 or e-mail him at greenmarketmanager@verison.net.

DUNEDIN

Hit the Pinellas Trail with Walking Club

Exercise your legs with walking and your mouth with laughter with the Walking Club at the Hale Activity Center, 330 Douglas Ave. The group meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays to walk the Pinellas Trail. Call (727) 298-3299.

COUNTYWIDE

Musicians needed for Suncoast String Band

The Suncoast String Band is calling for musicians who play saxophone, banjo, violin, guitar and accordion. The band is starting rehearsals for the coming concert season. For information, call band director Tom Barry at (727) 738-4546.

COUNTYWIDE

Old cell phones can be a lifeline for seniors

Senior Citizens Services welcomes donations of old cell phones to be distributed to needy seniors as 911 emergency phones.

The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and phones are distributed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Senior Citizens Services is in Belcher Commons Office Park at 51 S Main Ave., Suite 308-M, Clearwater. For information, call (727) 442-8104.

Countywide

Jazz band needs young musicians

Sonny LaRosa's America's Youngest Jazz Band is seeking children ages 6 to 13 who play trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar or drums. Vocalists who will consider playing an instrument will also be considered. Call (727) 725-1788 or visit www.sonnylarosa.com.

COUNTYWIDE

Equipment for folks with hearing loss

Florida residents with hearing loss can receive amplified telephones and specialized equipment for no cost at the Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay.

Free hearing screenings, other assisting equipment and low cost hearing aids are also available at locations across Pinellas County.

Call (727) 399-9983 or visit www.ftri.org for locations and information.

CLEARWATER

Pay once, park all year at beach

Clearwater residents can buy annual beach parking permits valid at five lots for only $40 a year. Permits can be bought from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Municipal Services Building, 100 S Myrtle Ave., Suite 220.

Proof of residency and vehicle registration required. Call (727) 562-4704.

COUNTYWIDE

Arbor Day group offers pocket guide

Can you spot the difference between a poplar and pine? What Tree is That?, a 72-page pocket guide to distinguishing trees is available from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

For a copy send you name, address and $3 for each book to 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, Neb., 68410 or online at www.arborday.org.

EAST LAKE

Brooker educational center needs help

Looking to help out? Friendly, outgoing volunteers are needed at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center as exhibit hall docents and summer camp assistants. Call 453-6800.

COUNTYWIDE

Volunteers needed in mentoring program

Gulf Coast Community Care needs volunteers age 30 and older for its mentoring program. Volunteers are matched with children who need a positive adult role model.

There is a need for volunteers for children of all ages. No experience necessary, no costs.

Volunteers spend a few hours a week in activities like reading, fishing, baking, teaching a craft or visiting a park. Call 479-1841 or 479-1825.

PINELLAS PARK

They've got stories waiting to be shared

The Tampa Bay Storytellers Guild Story Swap meets the fourth Sunday of every month (except November and December) to share stories.

The public is invited to attend and share their stories.

Each program has a theme.

The programs are at 3 p.m., the fourth Sunday of each month, at Pinellas Park Station, 5851 Park Blvd.

For more information, call Billie Noakes at 647-8057.

COUNTYWIDE

Make a differenceand mentor a child

Gulf Coast Community Care needs volunteers age 30 and older for its mentoring program. Volunteers are matched with children of all ages throughout Pinellas County who need a positive adult role model. Many of the children are in foster care or live with a single parent who is going to school and working. No experience is necessary. There are no costs. Volunteers spend a few hours a week doing simple activities such as reading, fishing, baking, teaching a craft or visiting a park with a child. For more information, call Beverly at 479-1841 or Bonnie at 479-1825.

COUNTYWIDE

Bothered by litter? Call this number

Keep Pinellas Beautiful has a new 24-hour litter reporting hotline residents can use to report litter problems: (727) 210-4663.

The litter hotline is designed for large-scale litter problems or those that pose a public safety hazard, such as cases where items could create traffic problems. Examples include:

- Road or environmental hazards.

- Illegal dumping.

- Areas with major litter problems, such as storm drains with shopping carts or bulky items in them, or places like businesses with widespread litter problems.

The hotline is not for reporting code enforcement problems such as overgrown lawns or minor instances of littering.

Action to remove the trash/litter is taken by Keep Pinellas Beautiful Staff or coordination with the appropriate city or county department.

Callers will need to provide a street address or intersection, description of the litter problem and a contact phone number. Keep Pinellas Beautiful will coordinate with the appropriate city or county departments to address litter reports.

For more information, call (727) 210-4663 during regular business hours or visit the Web site at www.keep pinellasbeautiful.org.

Countywide

Teen volunteer guide is now available

In an effort to promote youth volunteerism and help students complete service projects, the Volunteer Action Center and 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares has published the Pinellas County Teen Guide to Service Learning.

The guide lists 26 agencies in Pinellas that have volunteer opportunities for teens who need to complete 75 hours for the Bright Futures scholarship or for other programs.

For a free copy of the guide, call 211 or visit www.211tampabay.org. The 211 information line has information on health and human services in Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties. To reach the information line from a phone that's blocked from making three-digit calls, call 210-4211.

Countywide

Small business program upgraded

Pinellas County has revised and renamed what used to be known as the Small Business Assistance Program.

Under its new name, the Small Business Enterprise Program allows qualified vendors to bid for county purchases from $2,000 to $10,000.

The program is designed to benefit all small businesses principally located in Pinellas County, regardless of the gender or race of their owners, with sales and staffing below established limits.

Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees and annual gross revenue of less than $2-million are eligible.

To learn more, call 464-3148 or e-mail businesshelp@pced.org. An online application is available at www.pinellascounty.org/ purchase/sbap1.htm.

Countywide

Sign up to help collect for Tampa Bay Harvest

Tampa Bay Harvest is an all-volunteer organization that collects food from restaurants, supermarkets and other sources to donate to food pantries and other local organizations that help feed the hungry.

Volunteers are needed to transport food, help with coordinating and record-keeping, and assist with food-collecting events. Call 538-7777, ext. 1.

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