How can I become a Compeer Volunteer?
What is the training like and how long does it take?
The training includes:
It is usually done in two 3-hour sessions. Topics covered include:
- an overview of the history of Compeer and its role in the mental health system
- details about the Compeer matching process and how Compeer friendships are initiated and terminated
- understanding mental illness and how it is treated
- defining the Compeer relationship - what it is and is not
- combating stigma
- building a relationship
- understanding confidentiality
- responsibilities of the volunteer, including paperwork
- crisis situations
What is the time commitment for being a Compeer?
Compeer volunteers spend 4 hours a month with their Compeer friend. Generally volunteers are asked to make a commitment for one year. Volunteers send in a monthly report to keep the Compeer office informed of their experience.
What support does the Compeer program provide for volunteers?
On the monthly reports volunteers have the opportunity to comment on the progress of their match, ask questions of the staff, and bring up any issue they wish to discuss. They also have access to their friend's counselor for further help if needed. Compeer also tries to provide free tickets to areas of interest such as museums to volunteers and their matches.
What happens if a match just isn't working?
If a match isn't working, both parties can be re-matched.
Are there other ways I could help with Compeer?
Volunteers can help with:
- recruiting new volunteers
- fundraising events
- grant research
- grant writing
- media interviews about Compeer
- soliciting tickets
- clerical tasks
- serving on the Advisory Board
Monetary donations and donations of office supplies or tickets are also welcome.
Is there a way my organization or my faith community can assist Compeer?
Yes, you may invite speakers from Compeer to your congregation or your group. This is the primary way we gain new volunteers. Your organization could also be represented on our Advisory Board, make a donation, or sponsor a fundraiser for Compeer. For example, the New Bedford Rotary Club recently sent us a donation. We welcome such donations since other sources of funding have been drastically cut.
I've had some mental health problems myself. Can I volunteer for Compeer?
Yes, Compeer encourages folks who are consumers of mental health services, who are currently stable, to become Compeer volunteers. The model of recovery you can provide is extremely valuable. As part of the application process, the program coordinator will consult with the treatment provider you designate to be sure you are able to serve as a volunteer. See our new Compeer to Peer program page.