Become a mentor and change teenagers' lives

Now there is a new Compeer program for youth, ages 14-17, offered by the Far West Center, a nonprofit community agency providing a variety of mental health services. 

Far West Center has a successful ongoing Compeer program, started in 1989, for adults in recovery. This year Compeer International was awarded a federal grant to promote nationwide mentoring for youth who receive counseling. Our agency, located in Building 4 on the UH St. John Medical Center health campus, became one of the 12 Compeer affiliates to receive funding for a youth mentoring program.

Today’s teens are faced with many challenges. Research reports are showing that depression and anxiety are on the rise among teens regardless of demographic differences. Fortunately, many parents and teachers know the importance and benefits of linking teens to counseling and mental health services in order to treat symptoms and provide coping tools. It has been proven by Compeer International and other youth service organizations that when mentoring is added for a teen engaged in counseling it increases self-esteem and the achievement of positive goals. 

Compeer is looking for caring adults that can offer four hours each month to be a volunteer mentors for a teens, ages 14-17, actively engaged in counseling. Compeer provides training and continuous, one-to-one support to qualifying mentors.

Your four hours of volunteering can make a significant difference for a teen. Teens managing depression and anxiety often start to feel isolated and develop low self-esteem. Isolating from peers and the community leads to additional, complicated problems.

As a mentor you will help a teen feel a sense of acceptance, belonging and hope for his or her future. Volunteer time consists of phone calls, outings in the community, shared interests, and staff facilitated group social activities. As a Compeer mentor you will make your own individual monthly volunteering schedule that fits well around your work, family time and other commitments.

Please consider joining our team of caring mentors. Questions prior to application are always welcome. Call me, Compeer’s volunteer coordinator, at 440-835-6212, ext. 242, or email

It’s an amazing concept that your time, attention, conversation and shared interests can put youth on a path to success. Also, the Compeer program is fun for both members and mentors! 

To refer a teen, ages 14-17, to our Compeer Mentoring Program, call Candace Clark at 440-835-6212, ext. 241, or email

Denise Ayres

Denise Ayres is a Licensed Social Worker employed by Far West Center to coordinate and facilitate mental health recovery programs for adults managing severe mental illness.  Denise Ayres coordinates the Compeer Program, Compeer Mentoring for Youth, Art Helps and Heals (AHH!) Art Therapy, and  wellness and recovery programs. 

Denise grew up in Westlake, and is a graduate of Tri-C West and Cleveland State University.  She is a mother of two college grads., a college Sophmore, and a High School Honors Student. 

Read More on Community Service
Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 9:52 AM, 09.04.2019