Compeer volunteers make a difference in people's lives. The word "compeer" means companion, peer, and equal. By extending the hand of friendship, volunteers restore some joy and hope to men and women living with mental health disorders.
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.
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 health disorders. 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.
Compeer Chester County sponsors more than 50 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 a Compeer Caller (weekly phone calls), an "E-Buddy," or a pen pal, 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.
For more information or to apply, contact us, click here for the Volunteer Application Form in PDF, or complete the online application form.
- One-to-one Compeer friendships
- Phone friend
- Pen Pal
- Volunteer in a group setting
Benefits of Volunteering:
- Enjoy a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Be healthier. A University of Michigan research study proved people who volunteer are happier and live longer than those who do not volunteer.
- Increase your self-confidence.
- Experience the rewards of helping others, not as fortunate as you, to enjoy a better life.
- If you have lived with mental health challenges yourself, you can share supportive friendship with another person – and give them hope!
- If you have a family member with mental health issues, you might find it rewarding to volunteer as a friend to a person you are not related to, because you may not be able to do all the things you'd like with your own family member.
- Mileage to and from your volunteer work, plus any miles you incur in that work, can be deducted at 14 cents per mile.
- Volunteering can be a way to add to your resume and acquire a job reference.
- Compeer volunteering is a great way to break into the behavioral health field. Several Compeer volunteers have gone on to become residential counselors, intensive case managers, outpatient therapists and recovery educators.