Questions and Answers about the Compeer Program

 

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 experience a mental illness. A caring friend can help restore joy and hope to a life that is often empty of both. Compeer is a not-for-profit program of Mental Health America of Licking County, which matches caring sensitive and trained volunteers with mental health service recipients in one-to-one friendship relationships, as well as groups of persons.

 

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 of 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 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. Possibilities include:

Eating out

Plays

Concerts

Games

Shopping         

Museums

Sporting Events

Playing Cards

Visiting each other’s home

Movies

Walking

Talking on the telephone

                                                                                                           

It is a low cost program for volunteers and friends because of the many free tickets available to those matched. In addition, group activities provided by Compeer may be:

Holiday Parties

Picnics

Crafts

Speakers

Bowling

Potlucks

Health and Exercise Classes

Cooking Classes

Sporting Events

Workshops

Movie Nights

Wellness Programs

 

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 in mental health therapy (in a day treatment program, mental health clinic, rehabilitation program or with a private practitioner) can request a referral from his/her therapist. Compeer will then make every effort to arrange a volunteer as quickly as possible.

 

How Do I Become a Volunteer?

An adult (older than 17 years of age) in Licking County who is interested in making a new friend may contact our office to apply as a volunteer. Volunteers must submit an application with a background check, and commit to serve at least 4 hours a month. Volunteering is fun and rewarding and easy to fit into your personal schedule.  You’ll have the opportunity to change the life of someone special, as well as your own!

 

For more information, please call: Kristen Frame, Compeer Coordinator, 740-522-1341.

Mental Health America, 65 Messimer Drive, Newark, OH 43055.

 

 

 

 

 

6/2008