Compeer® Chester County


Making friends. Changing lives.



What does “Compeer” mean?

The word compeer, starting with a lower-case “c,” is a real word that means “peer, equal; companion, comrade.”  We also use it to refer to either person paired up in a Compeer friendship.  The word Compeer, starting with a capital C, is the name of this service-marked volunteer friendship program.

Chuck & Rich


How long has Compeer been around?

The first model Compeer program began in Rochester, NY, in 1973.  Several more Compeer programs developed in Pennsylvania after 1984, when Compeer, Inc. began to spread this program around the country.  Compeer of Chester County, PA, started up in May 1999.



How does friendship with a volunteer help a person living with a mental health condition?

Sharing conversation and activities with a supportive friend helps a person to gain self-confidence and self-esteem, fosters personal growth, and eases the fear, loneliness and isolation that are often byproducts of mental health disorders.  A caring friend can help restore some joy and hope to the life of a person living with mental health challenges.



What are the full responsibilities if I volunteer?

One-to-one friendship volunteers commit to spending about four (4) hours a month with their Compeer friends.  When not visiting in person, friends keep in touch by phone or email every week.  Volunteers send brief monthly updates to the Compeer office.



Do I, as a volunteer, have to bear the financial cost of activities with my friend?

No, each of you should pay for yourself.  If you want to treat your friend for a special occasion (such as a birthday dinner), that’s up to you.



What if we don’t get along?

This is rare, but if either party feels that things aren’t working out, despite support from Compeer staff and the referring therapist, a change in friends can be requested.



What training does Compeer offer to volunteers?

Our Program Manager meets with each volunteer one-on-one, and an orientation guide is provided.  Through discussion and personalized training, each new volunteer is made ready to meet his or her new friend with confidence.