TWO BALTIMORE women, Catherine Dollenger and Virginia Baker, have each given 51 years of service to the city's recreation programs for children and they are still at it.
Dollenger, 77, helps when needed in the city's Recreation and Parks Department in which Baker, "70 in August," is the director of the Adventures In Fun program.
"When Virginia wants your help there is no turninaround."Dollenger says of her friend.
Baker's present interest is providing volunteer readers for the new Agness Hunter Dempsey Children's Reading Room, which opened in May at the Recreation Pier, 1715 Thames St. Agness Dempsey, who died at age 94 in 1987 and whom the room is named for, "was the first director of the Recreation Pier when it opened in 1917 and she conducted a reading program there for children of immigrants," says Baker.
The small new reading room has walls of book shelves and large windows that offer a grand view of the water and harbor. A round table and small yellow benches welcome the children who come to read or just to browse.
Dollenger will read to children who visit the room and she will organize the reading times for others who volunteer.
Baker will act as volunteer coordinator.
Volunteers of all ages, including teen-agers are wanted to serve as readers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through the summer. "I hope we get enough help so that e can keep the room open during school months and have volunteers to read or help the children study," says Baker.
The reading room is only one feature of the Recreation Pier, which is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays. The building houses a gymnasium, a large office where meetings are held, several rooms for table tennis, pool tables and games. Schedules of events and classes are available in the office.
Donations of books or money to buy books or to build a modern playground are welcome, says Baker. For details and to volunteer for the reading room, call Baker at the Recreation Pier's office of Adventures in Fun at 396-9177.
Chara House, the Saint Vincent's Center's home for infants and toddlers with AIDS and for those at high risk for developing the virus, has a critical need for morning and afternoon volunteers. For more information, please contact Janet Weisman the center, 252-4000.
Family and Children's Services needs volunteers age 18 or older who can work one four-hour shift each week answering the new Care Line of the Caregivers Support Program, which is a telephone support service for caregivers. Call Marshall Nock, 669-9000.
American Red Cross wants practical or registered nurses to serve as nursing role models and mentors while screening students in the Red Cross nurse assistant and geriatric aide course to be held at Red Cross headquarters, 4700 Mount Hope Drive. Registered nurses serve also as instructors. To volunteer call 764-4602.
Baltimore County Public Schools wants volunteers for its "Partners for Success," a program in which citizens establish a relationship with an at-risk student offering advice, encouragement and support. Begun by the County's Department of Community Development, the program will coordinate efforts with the statewide dropout prevention program, "Maryland's Tomorrow." For details call Susan Spicer, 887-2008.