Allegany County United Way
Wellsville, New York
Live United

Youth Compeer Program

Long ranging impact

The Allegany County Mental Health Association has been in existence since the early 1950’s and under the MHA’s auspices are the Adult and Youth Compeer Programs. Allegany County United Way helps sponsor the Youth Compeer program so that it may continue to offer services to families with children who have difficulty with mental health.

We often wonder what happens to the children that for some reason or another we don’t see any more or no longer participate in the Youth Compeer Program. One particular case was TJ* whose childhood was difficult. Her father was not present in her life and TJ, her two brothers and mother lived with the mother’s boyfriend in a trailer. The home was not very clean and sometimes its condition was unsafe for the children to live in. Her mother would bring TJ and her brothers to outings when they could find a ride. The mother passed away when TJ was a young teenager and TJ continued to live in the trailer with her brothers and her mother’s boyfriend. As a teenager, TJ didn’t have much supervision and guidance and was not able to continue to come to Youth Compeer outings. The program reached out to TJ during those times but she was resistive to participation and seemed somewhat angry with the world. Unfortunately eventually we lost contact with her.

Recently a young woman brought her young son and infant son to a Youth Compeer outing for the first time. She asked if she could bring her children to the Compeer Program outings. This young woman was TJ!

This clearly indicates that deep down she valued what the Compeer Program offered to her and believes it is valuable enough to offer to her children.

Today TJ is the single mother of two. She is a loving parent and wants what is best for her children. She is employed and living on her own. She is successful.

*Name changed to protect privacy