Compeer celebrates friendship at Valentine's Day party

Compeer members and volunteers shared friendship on Valentine's Day. Pictured: (front row) Bob and Amanda; (back row): Kristina; Nancy; Denise Ayres, Compeer program coordinator; Doug; Josef; Mary Ann; Holly Henderson, peer support specialist. Photo by Joe Popik

On Valentine’s Day this year, Compeer members and matches were invited to Far West Center for an afternoon party to share desserts, holiday treats and fun. More than 22 people filled the Valentine’s treat tables with a variety of delicious cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins and candies for all to enjoy. Guests also shared some laughs by playing Valentine’s Day trivia and shared the joy of special moments they have had with Compeer friends.

The Compeer Program at Far West Center offers support to adults that are working on their recovery from symptoms of mental illness. Compeer members are men and women able to manage their symptoms with behavioral wellness services. After symptoms are decreased, eliminated and managed, the next step is to build a supportive network of friends and reconnect  to community activities.

Compeer assists the adults in the second stage of recovery by offering a mentoring style program and scheduled social, community activities. Friendship matches are made between trained adult volunteers, one to one, with same-gender adults in recovery. Compeer provides a schedule of weekly activities designed to encourage socialization and build confidence.

In addition to holiday themed parties, Compeer has two monthly Monday Nights Out, monthly Half Price Pizza Night, monthly Game Night, bi-monthly Peer Support Groups in the community, trips to interesting places, and “Compeer Together Volunteers” Group. Compeer Together Volunteers work as a group and volunteer at the Lutheran Home at Concord Reserve and the Gardens at Westlake.

Nancy and Amanda are an active Compeer Friendship Match that began in June 2010. Both ladies attended the Valentine’s Day event and both brought tasty bakery to share. As Compeers, Nancy and Amanda share weekly phone conversations and meet each month for outings and Compeer events.

At the Valentine’s Day party, longtime members and volunteers welcomed several new members. Compeer’s Certified Peer Support Specialist, Holly Henderson, helped to make every member feel right at home as part of the Compeer network of friendship, while I engaged guests in trivia questions about the history of Valentine’s Day and the origin of many traditions. Each guest left the party with a full stomach, facts about the holiday, and a warm sense of belonging to a group of caring individuals.

Compeer at Far West Center is an affiliate of the international nonprofit Compeer Inc. To become part of Compeer, call 440-835-6212, ext. 242.

Denise Ayres

The Compeer Program has been serving adults that are managing mental illness from our Far West Center office beginning in 1989! The Compeer Program is a branch of Compeer, Inc., an international organization with an evidence based program model. Compeer matches adult volunteers with same gender adult consumers of mental health services to provide friendship, emotional support, and encouragement. Denise Ayres, Compeer Program Coordinator, is a Licensed Social Worker with many years of working in adult mental health services.  Holly Henderson, Peer Support Specialist,is certified as a state Peer Counselor.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 9:56 AM, 03.04.2014