Youth Program

“Compeer is the family I’ve always wanted…they are there for me when others aren’t. The love and dedication the volunteers provide is unlike anywhere else.

I will always be thankful for the path they have shown me.”Andrew, age 17

Underpinned by the proof  that supportive friendship can make a big difference, 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 rich, 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 ballgames to hikes to campouts to sailing or paddling adventures, cooking classes, arts and crafts, films and live music, and much much more! See a testimonial from Barbara and Samuel, matched through the Youth Program

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 for both—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 such as cookouts, holiday parties, sports and games, walks and hikes, community service and volunteering opportunities, and in myriad other ways provide assistance and encouragement. 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, support.

Mentorship works for youth. 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.

Wanting to do youth mentoring Rochester NY? Be a friend, make a difference! 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 Coordinators:

Josh Higgins at 585-546-8280 ext. 217 or 

Email Josh

Jayme-Lee White at 585-546-8280 ext. 218 or

Email Jayme-Lee

Alicia Sheppard at 585-546-8280 ext. 224 or

Email Alicia

If you are interested in referring someone to our program, you may download, print, and send the referral form.

Please note: the paperwork must be filled out and submitted by a Mental Health Professional.