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Navigating our advancing years can be challenging, even for those with a strong support network. Now, imagine crossing those same waters alone, without friends or family to turn to for support. Our Senior Peer Counseling program works to ensure no one faces the challenges of aging alone. Specially-trained volunteer counselors, more than 100 in total, provide weekly visits to older adults to help manage transitions and life changes such as health concerns, mobility issues, caregiver needs, and grief. Special care is taken to connect participants with someone who shares similar life-experiences and perspectives, with programs offered in languages such as English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Tagalog, and to participants who identify as LGBTQ+.

How does it work?

After applying, participants are matched with a volunteer Peer Counselor who often shares a similar background, native language, and life experiences. Participants can choose to join a group session or request one-on-one counseling.

Individual counseling sessions take place weekly at a participant’s home or location of their choice (public park, community center, etc.). Group sessions are offered in a variety of languages in Daly City, San Mateo, Menlo Park, and Redwood City.

Who qualifies?

Our Senior Peer Counseling program is open to adults age 55 years and older who live in San Mateo County.

Can I become a counselor?

To become a Senior Peer Counselor, volunteers participate in two, three and a half-hour training sessions each week for a total of five weeks. During the sessions, volunteers learn the skills they need to be active listeners, recognize and respond to grief, depression, and anxiety, and work with diverse cultures. Volunteers who speak Mandarin, Tagalog, or Spanish, or who identify as LGBTQ+, are encouraged to apply!

Prospective volunteer counselors should:

  • Be fifty-five years of age or older
  • Live in Mateo County
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Be able to devote at least one hour a week to providing counseling

Volunteer applications are accepted year-round, with training sessions taking place in the Spring and in the Fall.

To become a Senior Peer Counselor, you can either fill out the Request for Application available online, or contact Geri Lustenberg via e-mail or via phone at (650) 403.43.00 Ext. 4389.

If you have any other questions, please contact Ann Blick Hamer, Senior Peer Counseling Program Manager, at 650.403.4300 ext. 4322 or by email.

Spring 2019 Senior Peer Counseling training dates

If you are 55 years of age or older, you can change the lives of older adults in our community.

Training in English: March 5 – April 3, 2019
To register, please contact Geri Lustenberg
via e-mail or call her at (650) 403.43.00 Ext. 4389.

Training in Spanish: April 27 – June 8, 2019
To register, please contact Victoria Valencia
via e-mail or call her at: (650) 403.43.00 Ext. 4321.

We also serve the needs of Filipino, Chinese, LGBTQ and other diverse older adults.


We welcome all without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, country of origin, age, language, abilities, sexual orientation, or gender.