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We fund organizations and projects which disrupt our current behavioral health space and create impact at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.

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We build public and private partnerships to administer grant dollars toward targeted programs.

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We provide funds at below-market interest rates that can be particularly useful to start, grow, or sustain a program, or when results cannot be achieved with grant dollars alone.

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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

Contact Alyson about grantmaking, program related investments, and the paper series.

Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Senior Learning & Community Impact Consultant

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Joe Pyle, MA

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Nadia Ward, MEd, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Bridget Talone, MFA
Grants Manager for Learning and Community Impact

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Hitomi Yoshida, MSEd
Graduate Fellow

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Ashley Feuer-Edwards, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Youth & Family Mentoring

Compeer Rochester

Youth & Family Mentoring Logo

Program Website
New York
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Counseling and Support
Target Population:

Program Description

The Compeer Rochester Youth and Family Mentoring Program is an evidence-based mentoring service that provides support and guidance to youth and their families who are struggling with mental illness, trauma, poverty, and/or parental incarceration. The goal of our program is to improve the well-being of these youth and families by showing them how they can succeed on their own by using natural community supports. Compeer matches youth with adult volunteers whose focus is on developing a vibrant, trusting one-on-one mentoring relationship. Compeer also provides the services of a Family Mentor whose role is to assist families through challenges that arise that might have an offsetting impact on an otherwise effective mentoring relationship. Our program also includes focused intervention when necessary by a Youth Peer Mentor, a staff person with “lived experience” who can work with program participants to provide positive intervention through support and guidance to ensure that youth who are experiencing difficulty in transitioning into adulthood get the chance to succeed. The goal of our program is to help every youth reach adulthood with a stable sense of identity and with the competencies and skills needed to undertake valued roles in the life domains that support that identity.


We believe our program exhibits originality, ingenuity and resourcefulness because youth in our program are part of a TEAM consisting of the youth, an adult volunteer mentor, the family, a Youth Peer Mentor and a Compeer Rochester staff Coordinator. All team members work together in the best interest of each youth. Our program focuses on each individual youth as a separate and distinct person. We consistently show positive results in length of match (minimum of one year) and quality of match (direct correlation between perception of positive mentor relationship and increased tendency to positive behaviors and attitudes). We encourage program participants to envision a fulfilling future, develop goals and activities or action steps consistent with the vision, carry out the activities, review progress, celebrate success, and adjust goals as needed—all with the assistance of the TEAM. This approach makes our program unique in the Rochester community.


Our program design and implementation is based on sound mentoring research resulting in the following protocols: 1) base match on similarity of interests; 2) provide clear expectations for frequency of contact; 3) host activities for match; 4) support and involve parents/family; 5) use community venues in natural settings; 6) provide ongoing training for mentors; and 7) systematically monitor the match. Adherence to these protocols increases the likelihood that a strong and meaningful personal connection will be forged between the youth and mentor which concomitantly increases the likelihood of a youth’s success in school and beyond. The TEAM approach helps each youth navigate his/her individual challenges, challenges relating to family difficulties (intervention by our Family Peer Advocate appropriate) and/or lack of focus vis-a-vis academic/vocational goals (intervention by our Youth Peer Advocate appropriate). We collaborate with other youth-serving organization in our community to ensure that our services are available to all youth.


There are significant changes underway in the methods by which New York State will be funding behavioral health organizations such as Compeer Rochester. New York is developing a managed care system for behavioral health that closely follows these guiding principles: • Coordinated Care • Integration of physical and behavioral health services • Recovery oriented services • Patient/consumer choice • Protection of continuity of care • Ensure adequate and comprehensive networks • Tying payment to outcomes • Track physical and behavioral health spending separately • Reinvest savings to improve services • Address unique needs of children, families and older adults. Our TEAM approach to serving youth in Rochester advantageously positions our program to meld from the current volume-based system into a value-based system. Finally, there will be opportunities beginning in October 2017 for our evidence-based mentoring services to be billable under the Medicaid Managed Care Program.


Our program has been very successful. We rely on partnerships with other youth-serving organizations in our community. Our staff participate in community movements such as the Rochester Monroe County Anti-Poverty Initiative. We work closely with other mentoring organizations to provide specific expertise and advice on how to help youth who are experiencing significant mental health challenges. Most youth-serving organization are not prepared to address mental health, but this is the focus of forty years of the Compeer Model in Rochester and throughout New York State. Compeer Rochester is a partner in the FLPPS initiative designed to integrate mental and physical health to reduce costs and improve outcomes. Finally, we subcontract with several agencies to provide skillbuilding and family support, both of which are Medicaid-billable.


Research confirms that the longer a match lasts, the higher the probability that youth will achieve positive outcomes. In 2016, 66% of program participants had been matched for one year, 53% for two or more years. Also, 81% of youth whose family received Family Peer Support services achieved a one-year match vs. 55% whose families did not use the Family Support Services. Research also confirms that youth reporting HIGH SATISFACTION with their mentor relationship are more likely to feel self-confident about schoolwork, less likely to skip school, less likely to use drugs/alcohol, and more likely to have higher grades. In 2016, youth participating in our program reported the following: 75% reported HIGH SATISFACTION on questions relating to youth-centeredness. 88% reported HIGH SATISFACTION on questions relating to youth engagement. 58% reported HIGH SATISFACTION on questions relating to their overall satisfaction with their match and our program.