Volunteers are essential to the work we do here at Perkins. From working with students in all different capacities and helping record books on tape for the Braille and Talking Book Library to making sure events like Everybody In! are a success and beautifying Perkins campus, volunteers support every department at Perkins. Here’s one Perkins community member’s story about building sustainability in the volunteer program.
Perkins was always so helpful for me growing up… it was a nice opportunity to be able to come back.Kayla Serra
Growing up, Kayla Serra’s first experience with Perkins School for the Blind was receiving Perkins services and attending community events the school hosted for children with visual impairments and their families.
When the opportunity to return to Perkins came her way through AmeriCorps, she knew it wasn’t something she could pass up because for Kayla and countless other students, Perkins is a place of real growth and change.
“This feels like I am doing something I have wanted to do for a really long time,” Kayla shared in a recent interview. “Perkins was always so helpful for me growing up… it was a nice opportunity to be able to come back.”
Now, as a recent graduate of Emerson College, Kayla is excited to be back with Perkins serving as a Massachusetts Service Alliance Commonwealth Corps Volunteer Engagement Specialist for Perkins.
Kayla will assist in building volunteer capacity for the diverse projects at Perkins that engage volunteers.
Her position at Perkins is supported through a partnership with Massachusetts Service Alliance’s Commonwealth Corps Program. This partnership is an exciting start to Perkins’ relationship with Massachusetts Service Alliance and AmeriCorps.
Kayla will be supporting sustainability in volunteerism on campus and beyond by helping us recruit volunteer leaders and connecting us to new institutions that can provide volunteers. This will expand our volunteer base and increase the chances of having a greater pool of volunteers to support opportunities as they arise across Perkins Departments.
The work Kayla is doing to expand volunteer capacity enlarges Perkins’ ability to support our mission of helping each child reach their full potential.Lisa Mosca, Manager of Volunteer Services
Lisa adds, “Kayla’s efforts create a multiplier effect of all the work staff do, by harnessing support of new skilled and unskilled in-person and remote volunteers.”
Additionally, she will support systems improvements that increase efficiency. She is creating training videos that can be used to support volunteers in roles that come up regularly.
“One of our big missions, whenever we get new volunteers, is to let them know exactly how what they’re doing is impacting the students and the staff and making life a lot easier for everyone that works at Perkins,” Kayla explained. “I think that gets volunteers to come back again and again and again because it makes sure that no matter what they are doing, they know that it’s important work.”
Whether you are a volunteer or a member of senior leadership, a strong sense of pride in the work being done is shared by all who work for and with Perkins.
Across many different roles, and throughout every department, our goal is the same, to create a world of inclusion, accessibility and opportunity for people with multiple disabilities.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a place where every single person I meet is just so nice and so helpful and excited about their jobs and excited about what you’re doing. Everyone’s so engaged,” Kayla commented.
At the end of the year, Kayla hopes to work with Perkins in another capacity as she plans for graduate school.
If you are interested in volunteering with Perkins, please reach out to [email protected] for more information.