Everyone needs a friend, and that’s the root of Compeer Sarasota’s mission.
The organization matches people living with mental illnesses with volunteers who spend a minimum of four hours a month with them. Pairs do everything from go to the movies to shopping to hiking — whatever gets them talking and helps develop a relationship.
On Dec. 3, top donors and volunteers alike gathered at The Hyatt Regency Boathouse for Thank You for Being a Compeer Friend, an annual appreciation event for Compeer supporters.
Compeer Founder Bunny Skirboll, Volunteer Coordinator Dale Wolfson and Director of Compeer Sarasota Lynn Buehler all spoke at the event, along with two volunteers. Karen Beardman told attendees how much she loves to go thrift shopping with and getting to know her friend Ernestine G., and Libby Foster explained how being a volunteer living with bipolar disorder helps her connect with her friend Hunter in the children's program. Hunter's mom also spoke about her son's special connection with Foster, and she surprised the volunteer with a thank-you gift during her heartfelt speech.
"My relationship with Hunter has given me more than I've ever given him," she humbly replied before accepting the gift.