The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County is hosting an orientation for county residents looking for ways to get involved in the community. It will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. The session will focus on volunteer opportunities in ongoing programs as well as one-time events. For more information, call 410-715-3172 or e-mail hcvolunteer@ hotmail.com.

The Columbia Association needs help planning and preparing for the third annual BikeAbout to be held May 10. Volunteers are also needed to assist with traffic control along the bike and walk routes, to work at information and registration tables and be "cheerleaders" along the last mile of the route. For more information, contact the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County at 410-715-3172 or e-mail hcvolunteer@hotmail.com.

Voices for Children needs volunteers, especially males, to be advocates and mentors for abused, neglected and at-risk children in Howard County. As part of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates program, volunteers assist children involved with the juvenile court system to ensure they have safe and permanent homes. Volunteers must be 21 or older, complete a 30-hour training program and pass a background check. The next training will begin in April. For more information and an application, call 410-740-0933.

Howard County Office on Aging is accepting applications for volunteer facilitators for SPRING: Senior Peer Resource; Individuals, Networks and Groups in Western Howard County, Elkridge, Ellicott City and Columbia. Training will begin in April. A reader is also needed for the SPRING Low Vision Group on Tuesdays at the Ellicott City Senior Center. For more information, contact Regina Jenkins, volunteer coordinator, at 410-313-1417 or e-mail rjenkins@co.ho.md.us.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic Inc. needs wish-granters for children who are fighting life-threatening illnesses. A background check is required; volunteers will be trained. For more information, call 301-962-9474 or e-mail idan@wish.org.

Howard County General Hospital is looking for volunteers in the hospital's Breast Care Center, for its Nurse Volunteer Program and to do clerical work. Volunteers are generally needed Mondays through Fridays, with flexible hours. For more information, call the hospital's Volunteer Office at 410-740-7980.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Inc., which provides meals to homebound people of all ages, needs volunteers to deliver meals weekdays between 10:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. A commitment of once or twice a month is required. Volunteers pick up the meals along with a route book at Florence Bain Senior Center in Columbia. For more information, call 410-730-9476.

Care Wear Volunteers needs people to knit, crochet and sew hats, booties, blankets, fabric toys, pillows and more. The items are donated to nurseries and neonatal intensive care units at hospitals throughout the country, including Howard County General Hospital. Volunteers are responsible for supplying the fabric and yarn. For more information, visit www.hood.edu/carewear or call Bonnie Hagerman at 301-696-3550.

The Domestic Violence Center of Howard County needs volunteers for its advocacy program, which provides victims of domestic violence with legal and nonlegal services. Training and ongoing support for volunteers will be provided. Call Cindy Wooten at 410-997-0304, Ext. 224, or e-mail cwooten@dvcenter.org.

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a cancer survivors organization based in Ellicott City, needs volunteers for its Ambassadors Program, which fosters partnerships between the fund and other organizations and businesses that have clients who are cancer survivors. The fund also needs volunteers to be community educators, facilitators of networking groups and patient advocates. For more information, call 410-964-0202 or e-mail hjohn@ulmanfund.org.

Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Lisbon needs volunteers to help care for more than 100 horses, donkeys and mules that it takes in each year. Students 12 and older can receive credit toward school community-service requirements. For more information, call Kathy Schwartz at 410-442-1564.

The Howard County Police Department needs volunteers for its chaplain program to aid and support the department and community. Applicants must successfully complete a county government job application, a personal history questionnaire and a background investigation. For more information, call Cpl. James Capone at 410-313-2203.

The American Red Cross needs help with blood donation drives in Howard County. Volunteers greet and register donors, label containers, serve refreshments and observe donors after they have given blood. Training is provided, and hours are flexible. For more information, call 410-764-4602.

The Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, built around a 19th-century school for girls in Ellicott City, is looking for docents to assist with programs and activities. Training will be provided. For more information, call 410-465-8500.

The Therapeutic Riding Center in Glenwood needs people to help physical therapists by walking next to horses with riders, leading horses and grooming and tacking them. For more information, call 410-489-5100 or e-mail cjv10@home.com.

The Caregiver Resource Center of Howard County needs people to do computer work and help caregivers find resources to support them in caring for the elderly. No experience is necessary; training will be provided. For more information, call 410-715-5057.

The African Art Museum of Maryland in Columbia needs people to help with typing, filing, staffing festival booths, evening office work, day and evening gallery staffing, coordination of special events, data entry, youth activities and other tasks. For more information, call 410-730-7105.

-- Compiled by Alicia Cypress

To volunteer, contact the agencies directly. If you would like to submit an item for Volunteers, e-mail it to hocoextra@ washpost.com; fax it to 410-772-2330; or write to Volunteers, Howard Extra, The Washington Post, 10490 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Suite 650, Columbia, Md. 21044.