CONTACT Altoona looking for local volunteers

For the past 23 years, CONTACT Altoona, Blair County’s 24-hour Helpline, has provided a listening ear to local residents who are lonely, elderly shut-ins and people who just want someone to talk to.
CONTACT Altoona telephones are staffed by trained volunteers, and according to CONTACT Altoona officials, more volunteers are needed to help this nonprofit telephone service.
To become a volunteer, interested persons would sign up to take part in an 11-week training program. Classes are offered in March and September. The classes are free for those who register, and the next class begins March 6.
Classes are held once a week, at the Schum Memorial United Methodist Church in Altoona, with local professionals teaching classes on basic and advanced listening skills, understanding the elderly and helping people find information.
Once the volunteer completes the training program, they are asked to volunteer two, four hour shifts per month.
Along with the telephone hotline, CONTACT Altoona also has a reassurance call service, where elderly residents are called to make sure they are okay.
In 2005, CONTACT Altoona had over 15,000 calls, incoming and outgoing.
To become a phone volunteer or inquire about registering for March classes, call 946-0531.