Information on Volunteers and Mentors
Volunteer or mentors for youth are individuals of all ages, walks of life, races, and religions who enjoy companionship and helping people.
Some of them have had experiences with loneliness and difficult times in their own lives, which enables them to bring a special understanding to the
relationship. Volunteers/mentors provide social, recreational, and educational
opportunities to the adults and children matched in the program. The
Compeer program is regarded as an adjunct to therapy.
Volunteers/mentors are screened, trained, and matched by Compeer staff. References are required from all the volunteers/mentors to help assure reliability and consistency.
Every Compeer match is based on mutual preference and interest. Once the volunteer/mentor chooses
a friend, then they will meet the referring therapist. In youth
matches, the mentor also meets the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child. On-going education and continuing support
are provided from all these sources.
Volunteers/mentors are asked to spend at least four hours a month with their friend. The commitment the volunteer makes is completely flexible and may be tailored to your schedule.
All Compeer asks for is a simple monthly report which lists
the time and activities the match shares together and also any concerns about
their friend's welfare. The mental health professional also receives a copy of the report
to be kept up to date on the friendship as well as any concerns.
In addition to having fun together, the volunteer/mentor may be able to advocate on behalf of their friend concerning housing, disabilities, etc. The volunteer/mentor is not a therapist, but a friend who becomes a helpful part of the mental health team.
Volunteers report that Compeer is personally satisfying for them as well as being very helpful to their friends. Many of the friendships established through Compeer become lifetime associations. Some volunteers have more than one friend and also give their time to help others become involved in Compeer.
Compeer is also a highly effective program in helping people
move toward a normal, well-adjusted life in the community. From a
financial point of view, the friendly association provided by Compeer volunteers
has proven to save money by reducing psychiatric hospitalizations.
If you can be a friend or mentor, you can be a Compeer.
487-2956 for more information on volunteering.