Volunteers Needed for Compeer of

 Kanawha Valley

The Compeer Vision

The vision of Compeer is to serve as a complement to mental-health treatment through social integration for every person who is diagnosed with a mental illness or an emotional challenge that wants and needs help, in every community around the world.


Compeer of Kanawha Valley matches caring volunteers with adults in mental health recovery.  Our hope is that these supportive friendships will give participants a feeling of being connected to their community, encourage socialization, overall well being and improvements in recovery.  These friendships give hope, hope to living well. 


How to Help

The best way you can help us is to become a Compeer volunteer and be matched with a person recovering from mental illness. The friendship you can provide can help individuals in your community continue onto recovery. Your financial support will also be greatly appreciated.



Program Coordinator


Season Lewis


304.768.8924 x202

KISRA Empowerment Center

 131 Perkins Avenue

 Dunbar, WV 25064





Compeer of Kanawha Valley is funded in part by WV Department of Health and Human Resources.


Dear Colleague:


Do you have a few hours a month to give back to your community?  Then Compeer of Kanawha Valley may be the volunteer opportunity for you!


What is Compeer?

Compeer Inc. is an international, non-profit organization that helps adults and children overcome the devastating effects of mental illness, such as loneliness, isolation and low self-esteem - through the power of friendship.  Compeer was founded in 1973 in Rochester, NY and it started with just 12 volunteers.  Compeer volunteer-based programs and services, which serve as a complement to therapy, provide supportive friendships for people in mental-health care - helping them on their recovery journey.



Compeer is recognized as a best-practices model by the American Psychological Association (APA).  The National Institute of Mental Health chose Compeer as a model program in 1982 and funded the development of similar programs throughout the nation.  Compeer is a model mental health organization with nearly 100 locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.


Compeer has more than 80 chapters across the country and around the world.  Compeer of Kanawha Valley is one of only two chapters in West Virginia.  Approximately 6,500 adults and children served worldwide.  Nearly 5,000 volunteers worldwide provide 190,000 volunteer hours annually.



The Compeer Model


The Compeer Model has the following key elements:  

  • All consumers must be referred to the program by a mental health professional
  • The consumer must be at a point in their recovery that they can participate in a friendship relationship
  • The consumer must choose to participate in the program
  • The consumer must be in mental health therapy during the length of the match
  • Volunteers are friends/mentors. They do not provide any mental health advice. All mental health questions are referred to the consumer's mental health professional or Compeer staff.



Why Compeer?

Mental illnesses affect children, adolescents, adults, and older Americans of all ethnic and racial groups, both sexes, and all educational and socioeconomic levels. No one is immune from the risk of mental illness. Approximately 40 million Americans aged 15 to 54 experience some type of mental illness each year, an estimated 8 million of whom will have both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.


Recently published articles in the Charleston Gazette and other publications have brought to light the persistent overcrowding problems at West Virginia's mental health hospitals. 


Compeer of Kanawha Valley will help to alleviate the overcrowding problems and lower the readmission rates at mental health hospitals by providing outreach and friendship relationships to patients who are ready to be discharged to the community and who are currently residing in the community.  This approach will provide a form of community support and social contact that will connect discharged patients to their communities.  A feeling or sense of being "connected to the community" will also result in decreased readmission rates of discharged patients.


Thank you for your consideration.



Dr. Michelle Foster


Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. (KISRA)


KISRA (Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc.) is the faith-based and community-serving initiative of Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church.  We serve and empower West Virginians through an array of education, employment and economic empowerment initiatives.  We serve children, youth, adults and families through our locations in Dunbar, Charleston, Huntington and Beckley.  Please refer to our web site (www.kisra.org) for more information about our organization.  You may also contact us at kisrainfo@kisra.org, 304.768.8924 or at 131 Perkins Avenue, Dunbar, WV 25064.

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