Volunteers of America is seeking volunteers with building skills to help in the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf region. More than a year after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, as well as the Gulf Coast regions in Alabama and Mississippi, are in critical need of assistance.

"We are still in the clean-up stage and will be for some time to come," said Cathie Peterman, New Orleans director of volunteer services for Volunteers of America, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that has continued working to help the people of the Gulf region in their recovery efforts. "But we are also moving into the rebuilding stage and need more volunteers than ever, skilled as well as unskilled workers."

These needs are the same for Alabama and Mississippi.

Particularly needed are carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other professional craftsmen. Many homes need to be entirely rebuilt and some residents have received insufficient of no insurance money to help with rebuilding. Volunteer craftsmen can install insulation, plumbing and wiring; build ceilings, walls and floors; install light fixtures, appliances, trim, doors and cabinets; put down carpet and flooring; and build new roofs.

It will take large groups of volunteers and many years to effectively rebuild these areas. Volunteers of America is encouraging the skilled trades to spend vacation or down time in New Orleans, Alabama or Mississippi and help with the rebuilding effort.

For more information, visit the New Orleans Volunteers of America Web site at www.voagno.org or call 504/483-3557. You can also visit the Alabama/Mississippi Web site at www.voase.org or call 251/344-4500.