Adult Friendship Stories
Shaundra came to Compeer because she wanted to share her time with someone who needed a friend. Kathy, a 39-year old woman, was living in a group home and would often isolate herself from others because she felt like she couldn’t relate to those she lived with. Soon after being matched, Shaundra and Kathy began meeting once a week at a local coffee shop. The two exchanged stories about their past, their families, their interests, and a lot about what they wanted out of life.
Fast forward 5 years later and they consider themselves “very lucky” to have met one another. Shaundra shares that Kathy has given her a different perspective about life and about individuals living with mental illness. Kathy states
“Shaundra helped me at my deepest and most dark time in my life. When I lost faith, Shaundra shined a light on all the things that I’ve overlooked and should be grateful for… How could I ever repay her?”
Shaundra and Kathy have done so much within the time they have been matched. The two still enjoy sharing coffee and conversation. They also enjoy going to the movies, walking around the park, going to musicals, and donating their time volunteering at various functions. Regardless of what they do, they say they always have fun and they always laugh “because there’s no reason not to”.
Cassandra came to Compeer after learning about the services Compeer offers, through her psychology class at a local university. She was interested in “giving back to the community” and spending her “free time in a way that makes an impact”. She decided that she was most interested in becoming a friend to someone her own age and committed to the Compeer for Adults Program. She was interviewed, screened and trained and soon after matched with a 24-year old friend, Julianne.
Both, Cassandra and Julianne, enjoy attending many Compeer sponsored social activities. In 2014, over 200 matched adults and those currently waiting for a one-to-one match attended activities such as ice skating, card making class, bingo night, nature walks, writers circle, glass painting class, potluck meals, jewelry groups, a Halloween party and trips to the Albright Knox Art Gallery and Burchfield Penney Art Center. These activities help build confidence, help improve social skills and provide meaning-making, a process by which a person derives a meaning from an activity, which has been found as a key process to recovery from mental illness.
To put it in Julianne’s words:
“Compeer is a unique program and I am thankful that it exists. Compeer saved my life. My hope is that others will see the value of this program and volunteer their time, in an effort to help build people and our community.”