tampabay.com

Make a difference and mentor a child

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 21, 2007


COUNTYWIDE

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

Guardians ad litem needed for children

More than 1, 000 children in Pinellas County need someone to be their voice in the courtroom, and the county's guardian ad litem program hopes that could be you.

You can learn about becoming a guardian ad litem by attending a one-hour orientation held each week on Thursdays. The time of the orientation is varied to accommodate the schedule of prospective volunteers.

Guardians ad litem speak on behalf of abused, abandoned or neglected children in Pinellas County courts. As a child's advocate, a guardian ad litem becomes familiar with the child and case and makes recommendations to the court to help ensure the child has a safe, caring and stable environment. Guardians ad litem receive training and ongoing supervision to help them make a positive difference in the lives of children.

Call 727 464-6528 to sign up for an orientation. For information, go to www.guardianadlitem6.org.

COUNTYWIDE

Hearing-impaired program expanded

The Deaf and Hearing Connection for Tampa Bay has expanded its no-cost telephone loan services, which include amplified telephone and equipment usage, at the following locations: Largo Library, Clearwater Library, Palm Harbor Library, Dunedin Senior Center, Safety Harbor Library, the Upper Tampa Bay Library, St. Petersburg Sunshine Center, Gulfport Senior Center and the Gulf Beaches Library. Call (727) 399-9983 for dates and times.

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

U.S. Naval Sea Cadets offer youth programs

If you're a student between the ages of 11 and 17 and interested in learning about naval traditions through participation in activities on and off the water, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, a nonprofit youth organization, and part of the U.S. Navy's youth program, offers valuable life and work skills like teamwork, leadership and citizenship. There are two types of programs, the Navy League Cadet for ages 11 to 13 and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets for ages 13 to 17. All cadets must be U.S. citizens, be in good moral standing, have a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average, be active in the community and be enrolled in school. Visit www.suncoastairsquadron.org for information or call (727) 796-7322.

COUNTYWIDE

Pay for infractions at clerk's kiosks

Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Ken Burke has introduced payment kiosks for fines in misdemeanor and felony cases, municipal and county ordinances, and boating and traffic citations.

The kiosks are at the clerk's North County and Tyrone branches at 29582 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater and 1800 66th St. N, St. Petersburg. You can pay fines, plus a 3.5 percent service charge, with a debit or credit card or by using a checking account number to pay by electronic check.

You also can pay fines by calling (727) 464-4846 or visiting http://www.pinellasclerk.org and clicking on the "Make a Payment" link.

To learn more, call the branches at 464-8700 in Clearwater, 582-7681 in St. Petersburg or the clerk's office at (727) 464-7000.

COUNTYWIDE

No insurance? Free care is available

The Pinellas County Human Services Department provides free medical care on evenings and weekends to residents of Pinellas County who don't have medical insurance.

Services are provided on the county's Mobile Medical Unit at different sites throughout the county. Evening hours are 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Services available to uninsured residents during evening visits include basic primary care, lab services and prescriptions. The staff can also provide referrals to dental, mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Emergency services are not provided.

Care is provided regardless of income or citizenship status.

For information on locations and times, call (727) 582-7595. Go to www.pinellascounty.org/humanservices/services.htm#mobile for a monthly calendar.

COUNTYWIDE

Low-cost spaying, neutering offered

More than 60, 000 unwanted animals are euthanized in the Tampa Bay area each year, so the nonprofit group Stop Pet Overpopulation Together (SPOT) is teaming up with local veterinarians to offer low-cost spaying and neutering for any cat or dog at least 8 weeks old.

The prices are $35 for male cats, $40 for female cats, $40 for male dogs and $45 to $90 for female dogs, depending on the weight. SPOT offers low-cost spay/neuter vouchers online at www.SPOTusa.org. Call (727) 545-3463.

PALM HARBOR

Cadet Squadron seeking members

The Civil Air Patrol Palm Harbor Cadet Squadron is looking for new members 12 to 21 and for adults older than 21 to be senior members or supervisors. The Palm Harbor chapter, which also covers Tarpon Springs, especially welcomes middle school students.

Young people in the program attend military camps, practice search and rescue techniques in the forest, can earn scholarships to become pilots and perform community service.

Adults interested in joining as senior members must go through extensive background checks.

The cadets meet from 6:30 to 9 p.m. the first, second and fourth Mondays of the month at All Saints Episcopal Church at 1700 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. On the third Monday of the month, the group meets at Tarpon Springs High School at 1411 Gulf Road.

For more information, check www.phcadet.com, call Capt. Robert Downing at (727) 686-8357 or e-mail downingfl438@aol.com.

COUNTYWIDE

Kits available to help find missing children

Child Photo ID and Fingerprint kits help parents or guardians assemble identification information needed to search for a missing child.

To order a free kit, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the nonprofit Missing Children Awareness Foundation, 13094 95th St. N, Largo 33773. Call (727) 585-5360 or toll-free 1-800-741-7233.

TARPON SPRINGS

Volunteers sought for two centers, museum

Tarpon Springs officials are looking for people to assist at its Performing Arts Center, Cultural Center and Safford House museum.

The Performing Arts Center needs ushers and backstage assistants.

The Cultural Center seeks front-desk receptionists, hosts and gallery assistants to help with exhibits, programs, performances, special events and in the gift shop.

The Safford House, an 1883 National Register historic house museum, is looking for volunteers as docents, collection assistants, researchers, and gardeners.

Call (727) 937-0686.

OZONA

Nature preserve is looking for volunteers

Volunteers are welcome to help restore the biodiversity of the Ozona Nature Preserve. Adults interested in working in the preserve can call volunteer site coordinator Reggie Hall at (727) 784-2131 or e-mail Hall at vision management@verizon.net.

LARGO

Want to adopt? SPCA has cat or dog for you

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tampa Bay has more than 80 dogs and 155 cats in need of adoptive homes. Adult dogs and cats are available for $25. The adoption fee includes vaccinations, including rabies; spaying or neutering; county license tag; microchip for identification; and free obedience classes for canines. The main shelter is at 9099 130th Ave. N. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Adoptable pets are also featured at www.SPCATampaBay.org or call the shelter at (727) 586-3591.

CLEARWATER

Dog Training Club offers varied classes

The Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club, a nonprofit organization, offers beginning through advanced classes in agility, clicker training, conformation, junior handling, obedience and puppy kindergarten.

The club also offers trials and provides opportunities to show your dog. The air-conditioned indoor club, 2101 Logan St., is near the Long Center. Call (727) 449-8738 or visit www.usdtc.org.

COUNTYWIDE

Big Brothers Big Sisters needs helpers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County seeks volunteers willing to spend as little as an hour a week with local children who need mentors.

Volunteers must be at least 18 and have a valid driver's license.

For information, call (727) 518-8860 or visit www.bbbspc.org. As part of the state's mentoring initiative, some employers allow an hour or so per week of administrative leave for employees to mentor. Visit www.volunteerfloridafoundation.org to find out more about the program.

PALM HARBOR

Learn about phone options for deaf

A representative from Florida Telecommunications Relay will be available from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Wednesday of the month at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., to offer special phones and ring-signaling devices to qualified deaf or hard-of-hearing residents. Call (727) 399-9983 (voice) or (727) 399-9422 (TTY) for details.

CLEARWATER

Italian Americans hold dinner-dance

The Italian American Club of Greater Clearwater, 200 McMullen-Booth Road, has a pasta dinner and dance from 5 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday. Tickets are $7 for members, $9 for nonmembers.

The club also holds dinner-dances from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. every other Saturday. Tickets are $13 for members, $16 for nonmembers. Call (727) 791-8698.