Compeer friendship is as simple as going for a walk, having a conversation, going to a movie or picking up the phone. Through Compeer, a volunteer can help change someone's life for the better and it's just as simple as being a friend.
A Compeer volunteer is a man or woman who shares a friendship with someone socially isolated by mental illness and economically disadvantaged. He or she is a sensitive person who understands and accepts someone who may feel misunderstood or rejected. Compeers spend at least four hours a month together, seeking to have weekly contact wherever possible.
Compeer matches are based on mutual preferences, and volunteers receive comprehensive training.
WHAT IS THE COMPEER PROGRAM?
"Compeer" means a companion who is also a peer or equal. Loneliness, failure, fear and loss of self-esteem are universal experiences of those who suffer from a mental illness. A caring friend can help restore joy and hope to a life that is often empty of both. Compeer is a non-profit program which matches caring, sensitive, and trained volunteers with mental health service recipients in one-to-one friendship relationships.
WHO ARE COMPEER VOLUNTEERS?
Compeer volunteers are individuals of all ages, walks of life, races, and religions who enjoy companionship and helping people. Many of them have had experiences with loneliness and difficult times in their own lives, which enables them to bring a special understanding to the Compeer relationship. They are screened, trained, and matched by Compeer and the referring therapists. The volunteers must also submit references to help assure reliability and consistency.
WHAT DO THE VOLUNTEERS AND FRIENDS DO TOGETHER?
They agree to get together for four hours a month, for at least one year, to participate in activities they both enjoy doing. Some possibilities include:
sharing a pot of coffee movies
window shopping museums
attending free concerts plays
walking sporting events
playing cards/ games church events
In addition to having fun together, the volunteer may be able to advocate on behalf of their friend concerning housing, disabilities, etc. The volunteer is not a therapist but a friend who becomes a helpful part of the mental health team.
HOW DO I GET A COMPEER VOLUNTEER?
Anyone currently involved in mental health therapy (in a hospital, day treatment program, mental health clinic, rehabilitation program or with a private practitioner) can request a referral to Compeer from his/ her therapist. Compeer will then make every effort to arrange a volunteer as quickly as possible.
For more information, please call: Compeer 1-800-564-PEER