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Protect what wilderness is left in these parts with like-minded members of the new Central Colorado Wilderness Network. The group holds its inaugural meeting next Thursday, Jan. 24, at Beidleman Environmental Center, 740 W. Caramillo St. The meeting will serve as an open discussion on the purposes and future of the Network, including what areas the group aims to protect now and down the road. To find out more, call John Stansfield with the Sierra Club, 303/660-5849. Meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Speaking of protecting ... Betsy Neely, director of conservation planning for the Nature Conservancy of Colorado, gives a free talk tonight, Jan. 10, titled "Southern Rocky Mountains: An Ecoregional Assessment and Conservation Blueprint." It's also at Beidleman Environmental Center and begins at 7 p.m. Call 572-6972 for more.

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Effective Grantwriting, a workshop presented by the Chamber Nonprofit Partnership at the Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave. Learn grantwriting basics, research tips and proposal review exercises. $60-$80, 575-4346. Fri., Jan. 11, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Black History Celebration presented by N.I.F.T.Y holding auditions for youth under 25 to perform and educate the public about the Black history through entertainment and literature. Seeking rappers, singers, poets, musicians, actors and other entertainers of all colors as long as the performance relates to Black culture or history. Auditions held at the Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St. Call Charity Wimberly at 597-9671 or Monica Longmire 390-3861 for details. Sat., Jan. 12, noon to 3 p.m.

civic opportunities

El Paso County Commissioners seeking citizen volunteers to fill vacancies on various boards and committees, including the Board of Adjustment, the School Fee Advisory Committee, and the Placement Alternatives Commission. Interested individual should send a letter of interest and a brief resume to: Board of County Commissioners, Attn: Nancy Talent, Office Manager, 27 E. Vermijo Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903-2208.

clubs & organizations

Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society featuring many satellite groups for those interested in mineralogy and using precious stones in jewelry, such as crystals, fossils, faceting, lapidary, micromount, camera club and pebble pups. General meeting held on the third Thursday each month except August and January, at 7:30 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock. Free. For details, call Ray Thompson, 683-26030, or Belinda Hall, 574-5319. Next meeting: Feb. 21.

Downtown Toastmasters meets at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada. Call 634-1408 for information. Meeting every Friday, noon to 1 p.m.

Life Group, for people who want community and to study God's word. Meets Tuesday nights from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. Currently studying Romans. Location varies. Leave message, 531-7274.

The Network Exchange for Women (NEW) meets the third Tuesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Antonio's on Garden of the Gods Road. $12, 265-1969. Next meeting: Jan. 15.

Pikes Peak Area 39+ Catholic Singles looking for new faces to join divorced, widowed, separated and never married persons between the ages of 39 and 65 years old. Call Nancy for more information at 393-0561.

Vegetarians of Colorado Springs gathering for a potluck on the second Sunday of each month at 6:30 p.m., at varying members' homes and city parks. For details or club information, visit www.vsc.org or call 388-2176. Next gathering: Jan. 11.

Central Colorado Wilderness Network holding its inaugural meeting at the Beidleman Environmental Center, 740 W. Caramillo. The first meeting will feature an open discussion on the purposes and future of the network, slides and maps presenting an overview of existing and potential wilderness in Central Colorado. For details, call John Stansfield, 303/660-5849. Thurs., Jan. 24, 7 p.m.

forums & discussions

Southern Rocky Mountains: An Ecoregional Assessment and Conservation Blueprint, a discussion with Betsy Neely, Director of Conservation Planning of the Nature Conservancy of Colorado. At Beidleman Nature center, 740 W. Caramillo St. Free, 572-6972. Thurs., Jan. 10, 7 p.m.

Fort Carson Advisory Board holding an open meeting where the public can learn about environmental restoration projects on post. At the Colorado Springs Police Department Gold Hills Division, 705 S. Nevada Ave. For details, call Jim Henderson at 526-8001. Thurs., Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m.

political groups

Sen. Stan Matsunaka speaking at the El Paso County Democratic Club Dinner Meeting at Bambino's, 2849 E. Platte Ave. $10 in cludes all-you-can-eat buffet. RSVP to 473-8713 by Jan. 15. Thurs., Jan. 17, 6 p.m.

Pikes Peak Green Party, espousing ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, respect for diversity and future focus in politics meeting on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Center, 29 S. Institute. Details, 210-5144. Next meeting: Jan. 15.

El Paso County Democratic Party, an affiliate of the national Democratic Party, holding regular meetings as well as endorsing the Democratic Women's Club, Young Dems and many others. Call the party headquarters for more, 473-8713.

Natural Law Party of Colorado, meetings locally during campaigns and in Denver during the rest of the year. For details, call 888/456-1732 or visit http://www.natural-law-colorado.org.

El Paso County Republican Party, an affiliate of the national Republican Party, holding regular meetings as well as endorsing the several clubs and producing events. Call the party headquarters for more details, 578-0022.

Libertarian Party of El Paso County, an affiliate of the national Libertarian Party, meeting on the last Wednesday of each month. Friends of Liberty, an informal discussion group meeting every Tuesday night from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at Wooglin's Deli, southeast corner of Tejon and Cache la Poudre. Details, 596-6799. Next formal meeting: Jan. 30.

volunteer opportunities

American Cancer Society, seeking volunteer cosmetologists to consult with female cancer patients 1 to 2 hours per month in its Look Good ... Feel Better program. Training provided. Call 636-5101 for more.

Alzheimer's Association seeking volunteers to be a part of HELPLINE, which provides information and encouragement to caregivers. Call 266-8773.

Beidleman Environmental Center seeking volunteers to help school children learn about the environment through hands-on exploration, activities, hikes, and much more. Volunteers especially needed for Wildlife Neighbors, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Jan. 15 through March 6. Call 578-7088.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Pikes Peak seeking volunteers to mentor youth in our community. One to six hours a week. 633-2443.

Care and Share Food Bank seeking volunteers to help with promotions, graphic design, development, clerical work, food pickup and delivery, photography, special events help, research, data entry and warehouse work. Call Jordan Isreal, 528-1247. Visit www.careandshare.org for more.

CASA seeking volunteers to be a voice in court for child victims of abuse and neglect in El Paso County. All advocates are thoroughly trained and provide on-going support. Call Amber, 447-9898 Ext. 1008.

The Children's Literacy Center seeks volunteers to tutor beginning readers for its winter/spring semester. 30 sites and a variety of tutoring times available; training provided. Those interested may attend an hour-long orientation at Barnes & Noble east of the Citadel. For details, call 471-8672. Tues., Jan. 15 and Thurs., Jan. 17, 5:30 p.m.

El Paso County Health Department seeking volunteers to help break the cycle of abuse by providing a safe and nurturing atmosphere for infants and toddlers while mothers attend afternoon support groups to overcome addiction. Also seeking volunteers to promote the Stop Family Violence campaign by distributing posters, cards and bookmarks.

First Visitor seeking volunteers to visit expectant and new parents; help promote care-giving, good maternal and child health; and to link families with other community resources. Full training and support provided. Call Nancy Barrows, 444-4504.

Foster Grandparent Program presented by Volunteers of America invites low-income seniors in El Paso County to tutor, mentor and care for troubled children at facilities like Children's University and the Community Partnership for Child Development. In return, seniors are provided with a $200 monthly stipend that does not affect Social Security or other programs. To find out more, Call Kathy at 632-1448.

Meals-on-Wheels seeking volunteers to help deliver hot meals to area elderly people for two hours each week. Call Diane at Silver Key Senior Services, 632-1521.

Pikes Peak Family Connections seeking volunteers for the Nurturing Program, a series of parenting classes. A commitment of four hours per week for four months is requested. For more information, call Lindsay Peters, 444-4517.

The Probation Victim Assistance Program seeks caring volunteers to assist in victim notifications, victims' rights education and the victim/offender mediation process. Call Stephanie, 329-7006.

The Community Chest is a resource for speaking your mind, pulling your weight, casting your vote and joining the club. See page 29 for information on submitting notices to the Chest.

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