UMass Dartmouth sponsors SouthCoast Compeer, an affiliate of Compeer International. SouthCoast Compeer services people experiencing mental illness and cognitive disabilities in the greater Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton areas.
Compeer International has always welcomed volunteers with mental health conditions. Compeer 2 Peer is an initiative of SouthCoast Compeer to actively recruit more such volunteers. These volunteers serve as mentors to DMH clients making the transition from group living or supportive housing to a more independent living situation. To provide additional help for these volunteers a part-time assistant program coordinator, who is also a peer, has been appointed.
How does one become a Compeer to Peer volunteer?
One must complete an application and a CORI background check form and attend a two-hour training session. Volunteers are expected to commit to the program for at least one year.
How are matches set up?
Matches are of the same gender and are based on common interests and logistics (transportation, etc.). Once you are approved, you will meet your assigned match in his/her case manager's office, accompanied by the assistant program coordinator. You will get to know each other a bit and exchange contact information.
Then what? Any paperwork?
Volunteers agree to spend at least an hour a week with their match and to make one phone call to their match each week. But you are not on your own! Volunteers talk to the assistant program coordinator once a week and attend a monthly Compeer to Peer support group. The assistant program coordinator will gather all information during the weekly phone call and complete all necessary paperwork.
What sorts of things would I do with my Compeer friend?
Whatever the two of you enjoy -- take a walk, go for coffee, watch a movie, cook together, play cards or a board game, attend church, visit the library, attend a play or a sporting event at UMass Dartmouth, go to a fair or a concert, etc. Just hanging out can also be fun. The program does provide some access to free and low-cost recreational options. If you incur expenses for transportation, telephone, going for coffee, etc., save your receipts. Compeer will reimburse you up to $10 a week/match.
You are expected to be a positive role model. Avoid using alcohol or drugs or engaging in sexual activity with your match.
What if a have more questions?
If you or a friend are interested and need more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferable) or phone