Volunteer FAQ

Members of the Perkins Volunteer Office

Who can volunteer at Perkins?

Almost anyone, age 16 or older, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others can volunteer. We accept volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and experience including students, people from the business community, stay-at-home mothers and retirees. People who are blind, visually impaired or have other disabilities also volunteer at Perkins.

What types of people does Perkins serve?

We provide services and programs to individuals who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired with additional disabilities. We serve infants, children, teens, and adults who live throughout New England.

Do volunteers need prior experience working with people with disabilities?

No. Volunteers are given training specific to the volunteer opportunities. To ensure volunteers are comfortable with their assignment, we’ll ask you to participate a minimum of two or three times before making a long-term commitment.

What types of volunteer positions are available?

There are a variety of ways volunteers can help. You can serve as a classroom aide to students, record audio books for the Perkins Library, or provide Perkins staff with administrative support. Click to learn more about our possible volunteer opportunities. You can also call us at 617-972-7224 or email Volunteers@Perkins.org. We’ll help you find the right volunteer opportunity.

What types of volunteers does Perkins need most?

Our need for volunteers varies throughout the year, depending on the activities and programs offered by the school. For example, at the start of the school year, Perkins' Infant-Toddler Program always has a significant need for volunteers. Other opportunities become available a few weeks or months after school starts, when staff members assess their needs and request volunteers. We also have on-call volunteer opportunities, which involve a one-time commitment, and summer programs, which may involve a shorter-term commitment.

Does Perkins require a time commitment from volunteers?

Yes. Although we make every effort to work with a volunteer's schedule, volunteers are usually asked to work a minimum of two hours per week for at least six months, although that may vary depending on the volunteer opportunity.

How do I apply to be a volunteer?

Please fill out the online Perkins' volunteer application. We’ll contact you to discuss your volunteering options. You can also call Volunteer Services at 617-972-7224 or email Volunteers@Perkins.org. Please provide your name and address and we’ll mail an information packet, including an application form, to you.

Do all volunteer opportunities involve working with children who are blind or visually impaired?

No, our volunteer opportunities extend beyond the classroom, and can include recording talking books for the Perkins Library or providing administrative support to Perkins staff. Click to learn more about our possible volunteer opportunities.

Are volunteers subject to background checks?

Yes, to ensure the safety of our students, Perkins conducts background checks on all of our volunteers. The CORI process is repeated every three years. Volunteers are not responsible for any costs or fees associated with background checks.

Can volunteers select their own assignments?

Volunteers are offered placements in programs to meet the needs of our students and other individuals we serve, and that best match your skills, abilities and interests.

How many volunteers does Perkins have?

More than 1,000 people volunteer at Perkins every year. They provide ongoing support for Perkins' services and programs, including Infant-Toddler, Lower School, Secondary, Deafblind, Outreach and the Perkins Library. They also help out at special on-campus events like the Taste of Perkins.

I have a question you didn't answer. Who should I contact?

For questions about volunteering at Perkins, please call Volunteer Services at 617-972-7224 or email Volunteers@Perkins.org.