Compeer friendships benefit not only the lives of our clients but those of our volunteers as well.
There is no stronger biological bond than the one between parent and child. But when a child struggles to find mental wellness and the result is behavioral problems at home, school, and in the community, parents and their children experience stress like none other.
Vivian Rodriguez and her daughter Salina, now 13, were struggling as Salina clashed not only with her mother, but also with teachers and fellow students. Therefore, Salina’s therapist recommended that Salina enroll in Compeer Rochester’s Youth & Family Mentoring Program.
Once in the program—and while awaiting a one-to-one match—Salina participated in the engagement and family support offerings that are designed for those awaiting matches. Salina and her mother took part in Compeer-sponsored events and activities designed expressly to strengthen the parent-child bond, and also to connect them to the community. “Compeer organized a mother and daughter makeover event, which was very exciting for us,” says Vivian. “We had a great time and met some wonderful people.”
In addition, Vivian connected to our Senior Family Peer Mentor, Maggie Burgos, to get help navigating the difficult path she was traveling with Salina. Maggie stood by Vivian’s side on many occasions including home visits, visits to Salina’s school for discussions with teachers and administrators, at Compeer-sponsored groups for parents dealing with behavior challenges, and even through assistance with transportation, connection to community resources, and other needs.
“Miss Maggie was really there for me,” Vivian says. “She helped me understand my daughter better, helped me learn how to listen, helped me at Salina’s school. Miss Maggie is the best, I wouldn’t trade her for anyone else!”
“The Family Peer Support program makes a big, huge difference,” Vivian adds. “I’m amazed with the program, it’s really great. It’s worth the time, worth the struggle. I even got a certificate from Miss Maggie at an event, a Parent Empowerment Award for my hard work in the program. It was very emotional!”
And now Salina has a match through the Youth Program who shares her interests. At first, Vivian wasn’t sure the two would ‘click,’ but she now reports that it’s going very well. “Salina told me, ‘Oh Mommy, I love her, she’s real nice.’” She added that Salina’s Compeer friend has a surprise in store for their next get-together. “She’s so excited,” Vivian says.
Salina and Vivian have both come a long way. Salina is doing much better in school and at home and mother and daughter are getting along better than ever. We are proud of Salina and Vivian, and proud to support their determined, dedicated work to strengthen their relationship and their lives.
“I’m amazed with the program, it’s really great. It’s worth the time, worth the struggle.”