Become a Volunteer

Become a Volunteer

As a volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to make meaningful connections with blind or deaf-blind individuals, helping to enhance their quality of life and to expand their social circles.

Volunteer opportunities are available at three of our New York locations: HKNC headquarters in Sands Point and HKSB’s Brooklyn and Ronkonkoma facilities.

Man looking up from computerAt HKNC headquarters, you can participate in recreational activities with people who are deaf-blind. The options range from collaborating on arts and crafts projects and making music together to playing games, going to parties in the residence lounge and working out at the gym. Volunteers also accompany students on outings in the community, including trips to shopping centers, restaurants, church or worship activities, hiking trails and New York City attractions. Or you may choose to take on library or office work in support of the HKNC mission.

At HKSB’s Brooklyn location, you can read to blind and visually impaired clients. In Ronkonkoma, volunteers help with transportation, taking clients to doctor appointments and meetings.

You are welcome to contribute as much time as you can. Individual volunteer activities range from one hour to eight hours to complete. HKNC requires that you provide 24 hours of service per year. There is no minimum at HKSB.

What are the benefits for volunteers?

Woman and man signing and smiling in the Sensory GardenYour HKS experience will no doubt be rewarding on a personal level; it also may serve to enhance your professional development.

During your volunteer work, you’ll build new skills, and you’ll have the opportunity to work with people of diverse cultural and communication backgrounds. At HKNC, volunteers are offered complimentary classes in American Sign Language.

HKS’ comprehensive training programs encompass a broad range of activities, projects and settings, providing a wealth of opportunities for you to do work that matches your skills and interests.

Who can become a volunteer?

To become a volunteer, you must be at least 18 years of age, reside in New York (preferably on Long Island or in New York City) and undergo a background check and screening.

If you’d like to volunteer at HKNC in Sands Point, you’ll also be required to participate in one of the six-hour orientation sessions that are offered on campus three-to-four times a year. Your orientation will give you a general overview of HKNC services and other important aspects of working with people who are deaf-blind. HKNC volunteers also must have an annual PPD test for which they are reimbursed by the Center.

Application Information

To learn more about volunteering at HKNC, please contact Eileen Ward at eileen.ward@hknc.org or Tom Burke at tom.burke@hknc.org.

For information about volunteering at HKSB’s Brooklyn location, please contact Liz Meade at lmeade@helenkeller.org.

To inquire about volunteering at HKSB’s Ronkonkoma location, please contact Shannon Sciametta at ssciametta@hhelenkeller.org.