Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about youth mentoring programs.

“Dear Heloise: Many cities have youth mentoring programs that help young people develop self-esteem and learn more about future careers. They also encourage school attendance, help young people resist bullying and maintain positive relationships with adults and people of other cultures. These programs need responsible adults from all types of careers and backgrounds to help the youth of their community build their confidence and further their education, and often steer them in a positive direction. For those who volunteer, it is often a learning experience for them as well and offers a feeling of having done something important and worthwhile.”

Helena R. in Texas

Dear Readers: Here are some ways to make a small room seem larger:

● Paint the walls a lighter color.

● Don’t use small furniture; use regular size, but fewer pieces.

● Have ottomans and end tables that also double as storage.

● Avoid clutter. Throw away or give away items you don’t like or don’t use.

Dear Heloise: There are a number of ways to prevent a fire, but sometimes people forget simple and basic rules to keep their home safe from a fire:

1. Never run cords under rugs.

2. Have an extinguisher handy in the kitchen.

3. Install smoke alarms in the home, and change the batteries at least once annually. (Replace the entire alarm every 10 years.)

4. Don't store lawn mowers or anything with gasoline in unventilated places.

Jayden P., Woodbridge, Conn.

Dear Heloise: I have garments that say to lay them flat to dry. The problem is, I don't have a place to lay these things in my tiny apartment. Any hints for me?

Jackie P., Jefferson City, Mo.

Jackie P.: Lay a towel in the bathtub, then lay your garment on top. When that side is dry, turn it over and dry the other side. ]

Dear Heloise: I see truffles being used in cooking shows and mentioned in cookbooks. I was told they're hard to find and expensive. Why?

Margery L., Yazoo City, Miss.

Margery L.: Truffles grow under the ground, which makes them hard to find. Dogs and pigs are used to search for them due to their powerful sense of smell. The majority of truffles come from Europe, but they are also found in China and even Oregon. This might explain why they’re expensive.

Dear Heloise: I have a lot of types of loose and bagged tea. Most of it has been stored in a glass container or in the box in which it came. How long does tea last?

Millie G., Mesa, Ariz.

Millie G.: Tea, if stored correctly, can last a long time. Teas need to be kept in a cool, dark place. It’s best to store tea in a tin or other dark container. Enjoy!

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

2019, King Features Syndicate