The Latest News & Events

For information on content in this section feel free to contact Lynn Buehler or Dale Wolfson at Compeer Sarasota

Compeer Sarasota advocates for humor's

impact on health at annual luncheon February 3rd

Click below to jump directly to local coverage by media sponsor YourObserver

Sad news about Compeer Sarasota's newest advisory board member, Sherry Penny.

Excerpts from the Boston Globe on May 12, 2019 follow:


"Family and colleagues mourned Sunday the deaths of the first woman to lead Massachusetts’ university system and her husband, a retired MIT professor, after the couple were found Friday in their Florida home overcome by carbon monoxide, family members said.


Their Toyota Avalon, which had a keyless ignition system, apparently was accidentally left running in the garage of the Sarasota home of Sherry H. Penney, 81, and James Livingston, 88, according to family.


When the couple were found Friday, the vehicle was out of gas and its battery dead, while the home was full of carbon monoxide, said Penney’s son, Michael.


On Friday morning, a house cleaner arrived at the home, found the couple, and called 911, Michael Penney said.


Officers who were called to the house reported elevated levels of carbon monoxide, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office statement posted Friday afternoon on Twitter."


Obviously, the hearts and prayers of the entire Compeer Sarasota organization go out to the Penney/Livingston family.


More information on Ms. Penney can be read in the Compeer Sarasota Friendship Report at:


Here's a great 5 minute highlight video of the November event
"It's Never To Late to Dance" - a benefit for Compeer


October 29, 2018 - Announcing a 1.8 million dollar grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Grant

Funding is a 3 year grant for children’s programming that each 39 offices of Compeer U.S. may apply for to support or start a children’s program.

CEO Tim Bolling from Compeer, Inc. shown pictured.

Meet Jeff, a person affected by tardive dyskinesia (TD) who experiences uncontrollable movements of the mouth.


Watch Jeff’s story and get inspired by his courage and determination.

Jeff Shair is Ann Hartka’s (Compeer Sarasota founder) cousin and also a Compeer – Sarasota Advisory Board Member.


Jeff discusses long term effects of antipsychotic drugs and a condition known as Tardive Dyskinesia.  Jeff was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was late in his teens.   He became involved with Compeer in Philadelphia and this is what motivated Ann to start the Compeer – Sarasota program.

Compeer Director Lynn Buehler Speaks before the Memorial Day VA Commission of Sarasota Meeting on May 24th about Mental Illness and volunteerism.


Compeer wishes our Veterans a peaceful Memorial Day from a grateful nation to those who have served/continue to protect and defend this great nation.


Attached is a photo of James and Pat Campbell whose grandson Jonah Arfons who was just named Commander of Stetson University’s ROTC program for 2019

Imagine that!


The sign shown here is well traveled but returned home recently.


It was found in Arizona and returned to the Sarasota Veterans Commission and presented to Paul Caragiulo, Sarasota County Commissioner.


No other details were mentioned - but if this troop moral booster could talk it would definitely have a tale to tell.

Since the Parkland, Florida school shooting there has been a high demand for Mental Health First Aid training in our community.


As part of our Mental Health reporting initiative, WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley attended a Mental Health First Aid session at Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna.

Ex NFL player gives hope to those suffering with mental disorders

By P Justin Robicheau - April 9, 2018

SARASOTA COUNTY – A former NFL player shares his lifelong battle with bipolar disorder Monday in Sarasota.


Keith O’Neil spoke to a crowd at the Francis while signing copies of his book titled “Under My Helmet” a story about his playing days with the disorder.


O’Neil says he was in a dark place at one time and did not share his diagnosis with anyone for three years because of guilt and shame.


He works as a board member for “Compeer” an organization that helps individuals and families dealing with mental health challenges.


O’Neil says it is rewarding to give hope to persons suffering from mental disorders.


He says his diagnosis did not act as a stumbling block during his NFL career.


“I was so afraid to fail I was so afraid not to perform at one–hundred percent every down every play.  That just my will to win you know was greater than the mental illness that was trying to stop me so to speak.”


O’Neil says he acts as founder and president of “The Fourth and Forever Foundation” a nonprofit to fight mental illness.

Here's the television broadcast from March 9th - highlighting Lynn Buehler from Compeer Sarasota talking about the Compeer event "Crossing the Goal Line: A Match for Every Friend" from April 9th.

The second annual "Thank You for Being a Compeer Friend"
event took place Dec. 5, 2017 at The Francis.

Nancy O'Neil talks with Director Lynn Buehler and Compeer Volunteer Coordinator Dale Wolfson on Suncoast FYI on December 1, 2017

Norma and Sam Savin Compeer Awardees in Philanthropy


Left to right

Bunny Skirboll, George Bowe, Lynn Buehler, Sam Savin, Norma Savin, Joan Wides, Jack Minge

Compeer Advisory board members

May, 2017


Volunteer Appreciation Event

Thursday, May 4th, 2017




Compeer Sarasota, sponsored through Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. is planning an invitation only luncheon at the Francis

Thursday, April 6, starting at 11:30 am. to announce the expansion of their successful adult mental health mentoring program to include children and youth between 5 and 17 years of age. The event included presentations by notables in the Compeer organization including Bunny Skirboll, Compeer Founder and Lynn Buehler, Director Compeer Sarasota, as well as Dr. Brendan McCollum, Executive Director of Outpatient Children's Services for Coastal Behavioral Healthcare.


In addition, heartfelt comments were offered by volunteer and successful local journalist Niki Kottmann and her Compeer friend Ashley, along with Betty Schoenbaum, Community Philanthropist and Paul Tarantino, Vice President for Canandaigua National Trust Company of Florida.

Pictured above, Lynn Buehler, Director, Compeer Sarasota

Above: Dan Austin and Dale Wolfson, Compeer Sarasota Youth Program

Left: Susanne Schuenke and Helen Glaser

Below: Lynn Buehler, Bunny Skirboll, Compeer Founder, Ashley, and Niki Kottmann, Compeer Volunteer and journalist for the Sarasota Observer.



Sarasota, FL  (February 22, 2017) – Compeer Sarasota, sponsored through Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. is pleased to announce the expansion of their successful adult mental health mentoring program to include children and youth between 5 and 17 years of age.


Dale Wolfson, a long time Sarasota resident, has been named to head up the program by Lynn Buehler, Compeer Program Director. Ms. Wolfson brings a solid career of educating at-risk children as well as directing programs within many communities - a perfect match for the nationally based Compeer Youth Mentoring program.


All kids need heroes and kids with special needs need superheroes. Compeer volunteer youth mentors will bring sunshine and hope into the lives of children and youth, who are in need of a positive adult role model and a trusted friend. Children and teens with diagnosed mental health issues need someone who believes in them and who will be there to share the good and the bad times.


Compeer Sarasota will immediately start accepting volunteers over 18 to prepare them for this fulfilling work. Simple acts of kindness like going for ice cream, having a cookout or picnic in the park, helping them to study or learn to read, or going to the library can open up the world to a young person and reveal all the potential inside.


For more information on the program or for volunteer information, contact Ms. Dale Wolfson at or call Compeer Sarasota at 941 927-8900.

National Council of Jewish Women Annual Award winners, including Compeer Advisory Board Chair, Bunny Skirboll (second left). Congratualtions Bunny, well deserved honor.

Compeer Advisory Board Vice-Chair, Paul Tarantino (left) and Steve Martin; Canandaigua National Trust Company of Florida attending National Council of Jewish Women Annual Luncheon

The 21st Century Cures Act - Highlights for ASAM Members


by ASAM Staff I December 7, 2016


On December 13, President Obama signed the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a sweeping biomedical innovation bill that includes several legislative changes that will impact the field of addiction medicine.

Highlights of the bill for addiction medicine specialists are outlined below. Legislative text and summary materials for the entire bill are available here.




Merger of 49 International Affiliates


(Buffalo, NY) - Compeer Inc. announced today that its headquarters is now located in Buffalo, NY. Compeer Inc. is the network of 49 Compeer affiliate locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Compeer Inc. staff members provide training, consultation and administrative support to the affiliates. Compeer affiliates maintain autonomy over their individual operations, programs, resources and funding. Timothy Boling, Compeer Buffalo Executive Director, has been named Executive Director of both the Buffalo affiliate office and Compeer Inc.


“It is an exciting day for Compeer and for Buffalo,” stated Timothy Boling, Executive Director of Compeer Inc. and Compeer Buffalo. “Compeer Inc. is a stellar organization that has been serving the communities in which its affiliates are located for nearly 40 years. I am honored to have the opportunity to be at the helm of the organization. It is my ultimate goal to strengthen the entire Compeer Inc. network and better serve our affiliates and the populations they serve.”


Through its time-tested evidence based model and best practices of supportive friendship and mentoring, Compeer Inc. creates programs to meet the diverse needs of communities that want to improve and positively impact the lives of individuals and families living with mental health challenges.


Boling continued, “Compeer Inc. has a staff of four team members. Some of our early goals are to do more distance training for the affiliates, as well as, host a national/international annual conference. Additionally, once the new licensing and structure is more firmly in place the plan is to begin aggressively adding more affiliates.”

Coastal Behavioral Healthcare congratulates Compeer on 5 years of service in Sarasota.

Acknowledging that "there is more work to be done" to ensure that patients with mental illness and addiction don't face discrimination in their health care, a presidential task force made a series of recommendations Friday including $9.3 million in funding to improve enforcement of the federal parity law.

READ: Federal Panel Calls For Stricter Enforcement Of Mental Health Care Parity Law

The Black Tie staff at The Observer is excited to introduce our fresh take on the People with Purpose section. These stories will now be more in-depth to help our readers get a better idea of who these influential people really are.

Our first subject is Ann Hartka, the 98-year-old former "Bird Lady of Sarasota" who, for the past five years, has served as a passionate volunteer recruiter and board member for Coastal Behavioral Healthcare - Compeer. Ann started the Sarasota chapter of Compeer, Inc. in 2011, and she hasn't looked back since.
Read her whole story here:



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