Compeer volunteers make a difference in people's lives.  The word "compeer" means companion, peer, or equal.  By extending the hand of friendship, volunteers restore some joy and hope to men and women living with a psychiatric diagnosis.

We offer flexible programs to fit your busy schedule. All you need is openness to new experiences, the desire to make a difference, and sensitivity to the needs of persons in mental health recovery.

Opportunities include:

  • One-to-one Compeer friendships
  • Phone friend
  • Pen pal
  • E-Buddy
  • Volunteer in a group setting

Volunteers (who must be 18 years of age or older) are matched with adults (also 18 years of age or older) who may be experiencing loneliness and isolation that often accompany mental illness. Having a caring friend to talk with helps them “get on with life” as they progress in their recovery. The volunteer is not expected to be a therapist, social worker, or counselor – just a supportive friend.

The benefits of volunteering are many, but you might be surprised by how much fun it can be!  One-to-one matched friends might take walks, go shopping, see movies, have lunch together, attend sporting events, or do whatever they both enjoy.

Compeer Chester County sponsors more than 70 pairs of matched friends currently. Group activities—such as picnics, bowling parties, and an annual "Friendship Luncheon"—bring together all volunteers and their friends periodically throughout the year.

If you cannot commit 4 hours a month for a one-to-one friendship relationship, you can volunteer as an occasional caller or pen pal/e-mail buddy, providing interim support to persons referred to Compeer Chester County until a one-to-one match is made.

Individualized training and ongoing support is provided to each volunteer. Compeer staff help you select a friend on the basis of location, personal preferences, and shared interests. An introductory meeting is held with you, your new friend, your friend’s referring mental-health professional, and Compeer staff.

For more information or to request a volunteer application, contact us or click here for the Volunteer Application Form in pdf.


Benefits of Volunteering

  • If you are itching to make the world a nicer place, volunteering can help fulfill that need.
  • Volunteer “for the health of it.” A University of Michigan research study proved people who volunteer are happier and live longer than those who do not volunteer.
  • Volunteering helps other people, not as fortunate as you, to enjoy a better life.
  • When you are volunteering, a 100% salary is paid—directly into your heart. No taxes are deducted!
  • Mileage to and from your volunteer work, plus any miles you incur in that work, can be deducted at 14 cents per mile.
  • If you yourself have experienced recovery from mental illness, or another of life’s challenges, volunteering can be a great way “to give back.”
  • If you are someone with a family member recovering from mental illness, you might find it rewarding to volunteer as a friend to a person to whom you are not related, because you may not be able to do all the things you would like with your own family member.
  • Volunteering could be your way to add to your resume and acquire a job reference. Always list volunteer work on a resume.
  • Compeer volunteering is a great way to break into the behavioral health field. For example, with Compeer staff support, several volunteers have become residential counselors, intensive case managers, outpatient therapists and recovery educators.

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