Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454.

This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

The First Night Leesburg Committee is calling for volunteers and business sponsors to help with its family-focused celebrations of the arts held on New Year's Eve. First Night relies on the talents and energies of more than 100 volunteers each year.

First Night is particularly interested in hearing from business and civic groups that would like to help with financial contributions, volunteer as a group at a site or take on special work projects at First Night.

Individuals and/or groups interested in volunteering at the 2005 First Night Leesburg Celebration should contact Nancy Fixx at 703-771-2707. Businesses interested in sponsoring First Night should contact Peter H. Dunning at 703-777-6306. For general information, write: Volunteers, First Night Leesburg, P.O. Box 203, Leesburg, VA 20178 or visit www.bluemont.org. First Night Leesburg will present a wide variety of more than 100 musical and theatrical performances for the whole family, including classical music, puppet shows, theater, folk music, rock and roll, jazz, storytelling and more. The celebration will end with a candlelight gathering at the courthouse steps to sing in the new year. First Night is a nonprofit, alcohol-free event. All are welcome.

The deadline for accepting applications from those interested in becoming a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Loudoun County has been extended to Dec. 21. The program is offered through the Loudoun Extension Office to train volunteers to assist the urban horticulturist in providing services and educational programs for Loudoun residents. Persons do not have to be experienced gardeners, training will be provided.

Space is limited, so applicants are carefully screened

before acceptance into the training program. Applicants are asked to attend an orientation meeting, Jan. 4, 7 p.m., at the

Extension Office and are interviewed by Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension personnel before being accepted into the training program.

The training program in basic horticulture is approximately 10-weeks long and is held each year beginning in mid-late January. To join the Master Gardener Volunteer program, contact the Extension Office at 703-777-0373 to have an application mailed to you. Debbie Dillion is the coordinator for the Loudoun Master Gardener Volunteer program.

The Loudoun Literacy Council is accepting applications for volunteer tutors. Training begins Saturday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. To receive application materials and a preliminary orientation by e-mailing tutor@loudounliteracy.org or by calling 703-777-2205 weekdays between 11 and 3 p.m.

There are currently vacancies for representatives on the following county and regional advisory boards, commissions and committees.

* Advisory Commission on Youth: Sterling District

* Cable TV Advisory Committee: Sterling District

* Commission on Women: Dulles, Sterling and Sugarland Run districts

* Commuter Bus Advisory Board: Potomac and Sugarland Run districts

* Disability Services Board: At-large business representatives or representatives who have a disability or who have a family member with a disability

* Equal Employment Opportunity Plan Committee: At-large representatives

* Historic District Review Committee: One at-large representative

* Industrial Development Authority: One at-large representative

* Library Board of Trustees: Broad Run District

* Loudoun County Sanitation Authority: At-large representatives

* Open Space Advisory Committee: Sterling and Sugarland Run districts

* Road Viewers Board: At-large representatives

* Social Services Board: One at-large representative

* Transportation Safety Commission: Broad Run District

* Woods Road Special Exception Oversight Committee: At-large representatives

* Zoning Ordinance Review Committee: One at-large representative with zoning related experience

For information about specific vacancies, contact Denise Reyes, county administration, 703-771-5072. Information about each board, committee and commission is available on the Loudoun County Government Web site at www.loudoun.gov/advisory.

The Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is seeking volunteers to assist them with the Virginia Volunteer Income Tax (VITA) program for the 2005 filing year. VITA is a national program that is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service to aid seniors in filing their taxes.

The AAA will provide the tax training for free. An exam that is given by the IRS via computer will have to be passed before the volunteer to become a certified preparer. The VITA program will begin in February, 2006 and run through the fist week of April, 2006. In addition to tax preparers, there are many other positions that need to be filled including tax preparers, appointment schedulers, technology assistants, site coordinators and administrative assistants.

Seniors who volunteer may receive volunteer hours through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and reimbursement for travel. AAA is also recruiting persons who can speak Spanish as tax preparers, appointment schedulers, administrative assistants and interpreters.

Call Lynette Jacob, VITA volunteer coordinator, Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging 703-777-0257.

ÒHelping Others First,Ó a new support organization for senior citizens is launching its Senior Meals Express at the William Watters House in Sterling with a pancake breakfast in honor of FatherÕs Day. The group is looking for anyone interested in donating food or time; as well as help set up a program to work with the residents doing arts and crafts and an exercise program. Contact Pat Wimmer, 703-669-8626 or 703-989-4830.

The ESL and Immigrant Ministries needs volunteers to teach English as a second language to adult immigrants in 18 locations in Northern Virginia. Free training for volunteers is provided in August and September. Classes begin in September. Both daytime and evening classes are offered. Consult www.eslim.org for full information about the program, including class schedules, locations and a volunteer application form. Or call 703-271-8341, Ext. 3 and leave a message for a return call.

Inova Loudoun Hospital is looking for adults to volunteer within its Chaplaincy Services department. The mission is to visit patients and help them draw upon their own spiritual resources in order to cope with their experience of illness. Volunteers are expected to attend a

14-week training program and commit several hours per week for one year visiting patients. Classes begin in September and meet on Monday evenings. The training program, now in its third year, offers mature adults an opportunity to develop personal and professional skills necessary to offer effective pastoral care in the health care setting. The volunteers were recently recognized by Loudoun Volunteer Services and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors as the 2004 Outstanding Adult Volunteer Team. Contact Chaplain Tom Chirdo at 703-858-8034 or tchirdo@lh.org.

Good Shepherd Alliance Inc., an organization providing shelter to the homeless, is in need of lawyers with nonprofit experience and mentors for single men, women and families. The services of local electricians, painters, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, car mechanics and landscapers are needed to restore living spaces, vehicles and outdoor shelter areas. Software engineers and technicians are also needed to establish and maintain computer workstations at all shelter facilities. Physicians, dentists and counselors support residents living in crisis situations and many volunteers are needed to help at the Good Shepherd Alliance Thrift Store. To learn more about the Good Shepherd Alliance, contact executive director John Brothers at 703-433-2631 or visit www.loudounhomeless.org.

Volunteers are needed to deliver home-delivered meals and to assist in the Cafe at the Loudoun County Senior Center, 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling. Anyone interested in volunteering for a couple of hours one day a week or once or twice a month, contact Erik Onate at 703-430-2397, Ext. 109.

Loudoun County Community Corrections is looking for volunteers to serve as court assistants. Volunteers must be 18 years of age and pass a criminal background check. A commitment of one year at four hours a week requested. Duties include providing court coverage, performing financial interviews on indigent defendants, data entry, case compliance, case intakes and basic administrative duties. Training is provided but a knowledge of the court system is helpful. Contact Karen McQuaid, deputy director at 703-737-8519 or kmcquaid@loudoun.gov.

The Adult Foster Care Program enables people with mental disabilities to grow and become more independent through the interaction and routines of family life. To help meet the growing housing needs of people with mental disabilities, Loudoun County Mental Retardation Services is seeking to recruit new families to the program and increase the number of placements. Foster families receive a monthly stipend and are provided with ongoing training and in-home support. Contact the Loudoun County Community Services Board at 703-777-0377 or visit www.loudoun.gov/mhmr/afc/.

The Loudoun Arts Council is looking for volunteers for its annual ÒExcellence in the ArtsÓ program, an annual arts competition for high-school sophomores, juniors and seniors in public, private and home schools. Competition will be conducted in eight categories: visual, literary, dance, instrumental, piano, vocal, theater and film.

Volunteers are needed in the areas of sponsorship development, auditions, judging, event planning and administration. Call the Loudoun Arts Council at 703-777-7839.

The Loudoun Arts Council is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the visual, performing and literary arts in Loudoun County. For more information, contact the Council at 703-777-7838 or visit the Web site at http://www.loudounarts.org.

Odyssey Health Care, a national hospice in the Northern Virginia area, is looking for people with an interest in serving the terminally ill hospice patients and their families. Volunteers offer companionship, friendly visits, running errands, household duties, and/or bereavement services. Other duties include answering phones, translators, or hospice community awareness. Training is provided. Contact Jerri Hays at 703-821-9200.

Loudoun County's Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is seeking volunteers to join its program. RSVP provides a wide range of opportunities for individuals, age 55 and over, to utilize their experience and skills in the community. To request an information packet and enrollment form, contact the RSVP office at 703-777-0505.

The Aspect Foundation is looking for host families in the west Fairfax County and Loudoun County areas for the school year. Host families offer room, board and friendship and show the visiting students around. Students from South America and Asia are still available for placement. If you are interested in hosting an exchange student please call Kathleen or Robert Rawls at 703-433-0362.

The Therapeutic Foster Care Program at For Children's Sake of Virginia is recruiting caring families interested in providing foster care in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties, and is seeking individuals or families to provide stability and support within a safe, nurturing home to foster children. Call 703-817-9890.

The ESL and Immigrant Ministries needs volunteers to teach English as a Second Language to adult immigrants in 18 locations in Northern Virginia. Free training for volunteers is provided in August and September. Classes begin in September. Consult www.eslim.org for full information about the program, including class schedules, locations, and a volunteer application form. Or call 703-841-0292, Ext. 6 and leave a message for Barbara Bernett.

Loudoun Volunteer Services (LVS) announces its volunteer-match Web site, a service of the Points of Light Foundation, corporately sponsored by Dominion Power. The Web site is aimed at both volunteers, who are seeking to find opportunities best suited for their particular interest or skill, and organizations seeking a way to publicly advertise their volunteer opportunities. To register for this free service, visit www.loudoun.gov/pio/volunteer.htm and click on "register your organization's volunteer opportunities," or to volunteer click on "looking for volunteer opportunities." Contact Lisa Rose at 703-777-0113.

The Loudoun County MADD Chapter is seeking additional court monitors for Loudoun Traffic court program in which trained volunteers observe and gather data on DUI court proceedings, including arraignments, pretrial hearing, trials and sentencing. The data collected focuses on three prongs: to evaluate the courts, to track the offenders and to plot trends in punishment and case outcomes. Training is provided. Volunteer one day a week or one morning or afternoon a week. Leave a voice mail message on 703-771-8127 or send an e-mail to maddloudoun@aol.com.

Loudoun Interfaith Relief Inc., is seeking volunteers that can pick up food from local grocery stores in the Leesburg and Ashburn areas. Drivers are needed every morning. Loudoun Interfaith Relief Inc. is a nonprofit food pantry that provides emergency food supplies to residents in need living in Loudoun County. Call 703-777-5911.

Opportunities, Alternatives & Resources (OAR) of Fairfax County Inc. is a nonprofit organization that helps offenders and ex-offenders break the cycle of crime. OAR of Fairfax provides services to Loudoun and Fairfax counties and is seeking volunteers to teach classes in the Loudoun County Work Release Center. Volunteer instructors will teach courses such as parenting, life skills, employability skills, work place skills, financial planning and conflict resolution. Call to enroll in spring training. Contact the volunteer department at 703-246-3033.

LINK, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, is seeking volunteers for its food-bank, assisting needy families in selecting five-day allotments of food items, to restock shelves and load food into family vehicles. Call Roberta at 703-450-4643.

Travelers Aid is seeking volunteers to serve as mobile guides and information desk staff at Washington Dulles International Airport. Volunteers provide access to agency social workers, airport information, directional services, transportation options, tourist information and more. Trained to be information experts, our volunteers welcome people to the Washington capital region and add a personal touch. We have a need for weekday evening, 6-9 p.m., information desk volunteers. Mobile guide scheduling is flexible. For more information about volunteer opportunities and upcoming training sessions contact Travelers Aid at 703-572-7350 or volunteer@mwaa.com.

Loudoun Families for Children, a nonprofit, volunteer organization providing temporary homes for children in crisis and a mentoring program for at-risk children, needs volunteers. Anyone interested in more information about the orientation program, call Kim Burk, 703-771-9505 or e-mail kburk@burkinc.com.

Prison FellowshipÕs National Office, located in Lansdowne, supports the work of thousands of churches in their hands-on ministry to prisoners and their families. Volunteer opportunities are primarily during business hours, which are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. The fellowship is looking for people who have skills or interests in any of the following areas: office administration, marketing, hospitality, data entry, library administration, prayer support and Web research. There are also opportunities for high-school students during the summer months. Contact Dawn, volunteer services, 703-554-8440 or at volunteers@pfm.org.

The Loudoun County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is soliciting volunteers to assemble 100,000 MADD ribbons for the Annual Tie One On For Safety Campaign. Students can earn two hours community service hours for school by assembling 500 ribbons. Loudoun MADD distributes more than 50,000 ribbons to the students and staff in Loudoun County Public schools each year in October. In November ribbon boxes will be placed in business and local stores. Interested volunteers can e-mail maddloudoun@aol.com or leave a voicemail message at 703-771-8127. For additional information on the annual Tie One On For Safety Campaign or MADD Loudoun's other programs such as the car donation program visit www.maddloudounva.org.

TuesdayÕs Children, a national nonprofit organization that provides services to Sept. 11 families, is recruiting adults in the Loudoun to serve as positive role models for children ages 6 to 16 who lost a parent on Sept. 11, 2001. TuesdayÕs Children provides a wide range of services for Sept. 11 families including mentoring, advocacy for children, next-step life skills and leadership training for adults.

The Mentoring Program pairs these children with specially-trained adult role models who support each young personÕs emotional and developmental needs and help them build the confidence, skills and resources necessary to meet their potential. Mentoring candidates will be screened and trained by mentoring experts and then matched with a child in their area. Mentors must be 18 years of age and agree to a one-year commitment. Contact TuesdayÕs Children at 202-558-5120 or brooke@tuesdayschildren.org.

CrisisLink, the greater Washington region's only 24-hour, seven-days-a -week crisis, suicide and trauma prevention, intervention and response hotline, is seeking volunteers to take calls and respond directly to individuals in need. CrisisLinkÕs comprehensive training program provides volunteers with the necessary skills to give referrals and to help callers in crisis develop problem-solving strategies. Take the first step in preventing tragedies; training classes are forming. Hotline volunteers must attend 43 hours of intensive training in active listening and crisis intervention and are required to make an additional 150 hour Ñ one year Ñ commitment upon completion. Flexible hours are available upon close of training. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Visit www.crisislink.org or call 703- 516-6770.