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Region : Youth Help Line Offered

Latchkey children home alone after school can now call a “phone friend” for help with problems, through a program sponsored by the Maple Center, a community mental health training and counseling center in Beverly Hills.

The free telephone help line--(310) 550-0909--does not replace emergency calls to 911, but it provides trained volunteers to take calls from youngsters who can’t reach their parents and are lonely or scared, hear strange noises, think their pet is sick or have a problem with a teacher or friend.

The volunteers provide information on everything from how to clean up spills to how to handle minor accidents or contact police or fire departments when necessary.

Director Ilene Simon said the help line, which began this fall with a grant from the Robert Ellis Simon Foundation, is staffed by volunteers, primarily senior citizens, who have been screened and given at least 12 weeks of training.

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The service operates Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Fridays.


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