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Supportive friendship can make a big difference in young lives. Compeer Rochester’s Youth Program pairs community volunteers with youth ages 6–19 living with mental health challenges. These volunteers and youth spend four hours a month together out in the Greater Rochester community, taking in our region’s diverse cultural, recreational and educational offerings and opportunities.

As Compeer has forged many partnerships with organizations and institutions in the community, we enjoy free or reduced rates at community attractions such as the Strong Museum of Play, Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Seneca Park Zoo, and Memorial Art Gallery. While these attractions are popular destinations for our matches, their experiences together in the community run a wide spectrum — from ball games, hikes, and cookouts, to sailing and paddling adventures, to cooking classes, arts and crafts, films and live music, and much much more!

Participating youth are referred to Compeer by mental health professionals who know that the friendship and mentoring we provide can be profoundly therapeutic. Our goal is that the volunteer/youth match be a source of wellness that the adult volunteer and youth both give and receive!

Our special volunteers are thoroughly screened and trained for their important work and matched according to their preferences. Participating youth and families are supported and guided via our Family Mentoring Program, and the volunteer/youth matches are supported every step of the way by Compeer Rochester staff. We organize regular gatherings, activities, and events for the matches, and provide assistance and encouragement in myriad other ways. On the whole, our volunteers provide transforming mentorship to our young clients: life advice, connections to the community, an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, a resource for wisdom, information, direction, and support.

Research conducted by the National Mentoring Partnership reveals that:

  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class.

  • Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking.

  • 76% of at-risk young adults who had a mentor aspire to enroll in and graduate from college versus half of at-risk young adults who had no mentor. They are also more likely to be enrolled in college.

  • Mentoring reduces “depressive symptoms” and increases “social acceptance, academic attitudes, and grades.”

For those who do not yet have a one-to-one match with a Youth Program volunteer, Compeer Rochester offers an array of ways to get engaged with the organization and its people. We organize activities such as sports clinics, fishing outings, expeditions to the parks, social hours, and more.

Want to Be a Mentor to Youth? 

Youth who can benefit from our supportive friendship model are awaiting matches in our community. Volunteer with us and enrich two lives!

If you’re seeking to volunteer, be matched with a volunteer, or have other questions, connect with our Youth Program Coordinator:

If you are interested in referring someone to our program, you may download, print, and send the referral form. Please note that the paperwork must be filled out and submitted by a Mental Health Professional.

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