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Janet Sevier Gilbreath Award 1989

Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas Compeer Program

1989 Winner
Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award

COMPEER is a nationwide program of frienship and support for mentally ill persons living in communities. A volunteer is recruited to spend a minimum of one hour a week with a mentally ill person. COMPEER supports the friendship match of volunteer and client with training, planned group activities, and evaluation.

The Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, Wichita, started a COMPEER program in 1985. This COMPEER program has grown to 100 matches, making it the third largest program out of more than 100 nationwide. This program growth indicated the dedicated work of Rose Mary Mohr, Executive Director of the Association, and Kevin Bomhoff, COMPEER Director. However, numbers alone do not tell this program's story. Committed to measurable outcomes, the program has consistently demonstrated that its clients have needed fewer rehospitalizations, maintained or improved social independence, developed living skills and increased social activity. This means a better quality of life without the isolation followed by recurring rehospitalizations, frequently experienced by other mentally-ill persons living in communities.

Beyond the excellence in its own program, the Association has served as a stimulator of COMPEER work all across Kansas. Many other COMPEER programs in Kansas have received important assistance from Kevin Bomhoff, as an SRS contract trainer and program developer. The quality of Kevin's own work was recently recognized by his receipt of the Ruth P. Brudney Award, given annually to one social worker nationally who has made a significant contribution to the care and treatment of the mentally ill.

The program has met the goals and objectives established in the Health Ministry Fund grant documents. The leadership of the program continues to push forward with innovative volunteer recruitment ideas and expanded client services, including the potential development of a children's COMPEER program in 1991. Dedication to the need for broader resource development has met with considerable success. In exposing many people to the problems of the mentally ill and in mobilizing ordinary people to serve, the program presents a model ministry of health, healing, and wholeness.

COMPEER representatives from the Association: Eric Melgren, Chairman of the Board; Karen Nye, COMPEER Committee Chair; Rose Mary Mohr, President; Kevin Bomhoff, COMPEER Director; and Karen McNally, COMPEER Volunteer Coordinator.

Awarded March 14, 1990

Learn more about the Janet Sevier Gilbreath award