Gretchen Kelly, Compeer Pittsburgh, Pa.
Compeer Program staff are known for their professionalism, creativity, and commitment. In this and future issues, we introduce you to Compeer people and programs so that you might be inspired by them, as we continually are.
Gretchen Kelly has been involved with the Compeer Program in Pittsburgh since 1994. Beginning as a program assistant, she spent her first year with Compeer promoting the program, recruiting volunteers and developing marketing materials to help the program grow from 8 to 24 volunteers. In 1995, the opportunity presented itself for Gretchen to serve as Compeer Program Director.
Throughout the next ten years, Gretchen served Compeer additionally as Regional Representative for Compeer Inc., representing the PA Compeer Coalition which consisted of as many as 18 programs during this time. In 2002, the Compeer Pittsburgh program sponsored the Annual International Compeer Conference featuring program directors from across the United States and beyond. It also featured speakers from the mental health community in Pittsburgh.
Around the same time, Compeer Pittsburgh opened the Compeer Recreation Center, the first of its kind in Compeer programming. The Compeer Recreation Center began with private funds to facilitate the growing number of individuals on the Compeer wait list. The program was formed to allow those waiting for a one-to-one volunteer and those who preferred group socialization to meet in a group setting focused on friendship for two days a week. The program now operates 5 days a week and serves nearly 150 adult participants annually.
For the past two years, Gretchen served in a co-coordinator role with the PA Compeer Coalition, supporting the group as all seven programs have expanded programming to include CompeerCORPS, have developed an internal training for all staff to become Certified Compeer Professionals, have formulated and carried out strategic planning specific to PA Programs, and have continued the nearly 25-year tradition of an annual PA Compeer Coalition retreat.
In February of this year, Gretchen was promoted to Executive Director of PLEA, Compeer Pittsburgh’s sponsor agency. In this role, she still oversees the Compeer Program along with the additional programs of PLEA, an organization focused on supporting children, families and adults dealing with developmental and mental health difficulties. Gretchen still enjoys her personal Compeer match with her friend Nancy that began in 1994.
Compeer International Newsletter 2018