Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends
Posted on 11/19/2019
Circle of Friends

As part of Family Services of Chemung County, Compeer is a rewarding mentoring program that recruits community volunteers to serve as mentors for children with mental health illnesses and children at-risk through the school-based mentoring program, Circle of Friends. Compeer firmly believes that volunteers are the “true heroes” of the program, giving of themselves each month to serve children who are in need of a special friendship. Compeer volunteers play a critical role in the success of our Circle of Friends children – they provide a powerful, supportive friendship that helps builds self-esteem; encourages positive attributes for strong social, cultural, emotional, and academic growth; helps build family and community relations, positive school and peer interaction; and most importantly, provides a friendship for a child that is in need of a special friend. They are a role model, someone a child can look up to, admire, and trust!

In May 2019, Compeer of Family Services of Chemung County, Inc. was awarded a three-year, $95,000 (total) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Youth Expansion Grant through Compeer International. The awarding of this grant, along with the continuous support from local foundations, will allow Compeer/Circle of Friends to explore new opportunities for expanding the Circle of Friends program within all Elmira City School District elementary schools. With the awarding of this grant, Compeer/Circle of Friends hired two Youth Support Specialists, Casey Lantz (K-2nd) and Amber Connell (3rd-6th) that will be working directly with the Circle of Friends students and volunteers. In addition to the hiring of these two Youth Support Specialists, the Compeer/Circle of Friends program will be exploring new ways to expand the program. One way of expansion will take place this fall, the Compeer/Circle of Friends program will go from meeting twice a month (October to May) to meeting weekly (September to June), resulting in more students being served on a weekly basis and the increased need for volunteers to be mentors for these students.

Interested in Volunteering?

The Compeer/Circle of Friends program is seeking volunteer mentors that can provide a special friendship for as little as one hour a week to our Circle of Friends students.

“Circle of Friends” is a school-based mentoring program that matches community volunteers with K-6th grade students, within the Elmira City School District, in 1:1 mentoring relationships and small group friendships, during the student’s lunchtime (10:00am – 1:30pm). Volunteers meet with their “friend” for roughly one hour a week helping with reading, game playing, skill-building activities, peer-to-peer and adult socialization and interaction, and craft activities to share with the community. Most importantly, our Circle of Friends students and volunteers are spending quality time together is a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment, while building a trusting friendship.

For more information or to become a Compeer Mentor, please contact:

Donna Taylor, Compeer Director
Office: 607-733-2820 ext. 111