Compeer Niagara is a non-profit, volunteer-based program in Niagara County, NY that serves adults and children who have a mental health diagnosis and limited social supports. Participants who will benefit from one-to-one relationships with volunteers from the community are referred to the program by their mental health professional. Compeer Niagara also offers monthly group activities which provide the opportunity for social inclusion.
Our aim is to improve the quality of life and self-esteem of our clients through social inclusion, enjoyable activities, and the experience of mutual trust in a non-clinical setting.
Our goal is achieved by matching volunteers with participants. Volunteers have the option to be involved in either the Adult Compeer Niagara program or the Kids Compeer Niagara program. In the adult program, volunteers are matched in a one-to-one friendship with a participant of the same gender who has shared interests. In the kids program, volunteers are matched in a one-to-one mentorship with a participant of the same gender who has shared interests. Volunteers commit to investing 4 hours per month for at least a 12-month period. These 4 hours consist of time spent in person and over the phone. Time spent together is all about having fun while enjoying each other’s company within the community.
A caring friend can help to restore some joy and hope to a life that is often empty of both. The Compeer Niagara Program matches trained volunteers in a one-to-one friendship relationship with men, women and children who are receiving mental health services. The word "Compeer" is defined as a companion who is also a peer or equal. Our mission is to diminish the loneliness, fear of failure, and loss of self-esteem that are universally experienced by those who suffer from mental illness by providing them with "volunteer friends." Be a supportive friend to someone who may have no one else.
Compeer Niagara seeks adults interested in volunteering to become a Compeer "friend" to persons who are in treatment for mental illness. Volunteers are needed from all communities within Niagara County! Volunteers receive training and continued support, and are carefully screened and "matched" with their Compeer friend. Volunteers are asked to make a committment of at least four hours per month, and to maintain this committment for at least one year, if possible.
The Compeer Niagara Program is regarded as an adjunct to therapy. All Compeer clients are currently receiving therapy, and the Compeer volunteer is encouraged to be in contact with that therapist. The Compeer Niagara volunteer fills the gap that may occur between the treatment services provided and the absence of an adequate support system by family and friends.