USO collecting

items for troops

The USO of Northern Ohio is collecting items to fill care packages to be shipped to local service men and women deployed overseas.

The USO is in need of the following items: cans of tuna; fruit snack cups and cans; fruit snacks; raisins; beef jerky; cans of vegetables; cans of soup and stew; disposable cameras; eye drops; cough drops; and 2007 calendars.

For a complete list of dropoff sites visit the USO's Web site at www.usocleveland.org, or call 440-454-2537.

Since March 2003, the USO has sent more than 40,000 boxes to troops in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Korea, Kosovo, and other remote locations.

Families of serving Marines to meet Aug. 12

USMC Family and Friends of Summit County will host its monthly meeting Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. The group's meetings take place at the Cuyahoga Falls YMCA on Broad Boulevard and are open to all family members and friends of men and women serving in the United States Marine Corps. Members say the group meets at the same location and time the second Sunday of each month.

For more information, call Marianne Smith at 330-603-1421.

Professionals sought

to assist veterans

Give an Hour, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a national network of volunteers to respond to acute and chronic needs within society, is establishing a national network of mental health professionals to reach out to the U.S. troops and families affected by the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

More than 100 mental health providers already are registered nationwide.

Mental health professionals who join Give an Hour will donate one hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.

Professionals are being asked to provide the type of services they currently provide in their offices for up to one year to provide continuity of care for these military clients.

"We spent almost two years establishing the scaffolding to support our not-for-profit organization and writing grants to sustain it," said Dr. Barbara Romberg, Give an Hour's executive director. "Once we have an adequate panel of mental health providers, we can move to the implementation phase and begin providing services."

Give an Hour is recruiting providers with expertise in areas including marital counseling, substance abuse counseling, traumatic brain injury treatment and support, child and family counseling as well as the assessment and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"We know that at least 12 percent of the returning soldiers will come back from Iraq with a serious mental disorder," Romberg said. "We know that family members are also severely affected by a soldier's experience of trauma."

Licensed mental health providers who wish to volunteer for the project are invited to visit www.giveanhour.org to sign up for the national network and to learn more about the organization, or to e-mail Romberg at bvromberg@giveanhour.org.

Volunteers interested in helping to develop and implement this project also are welcome.