Guide Dog Foundation

How to Help

Volunteering at the Guide Dog Foundation

We are very fortunate to have a thriving community of more than 1300 volunteers who support our programs.  Every volunteer plays an important role in our mission to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs. We thank you for your interest in joining our volunteer team! Please read through the entire application list to learn about all of our volunteer opportunities.

 

Puppy Raisers: Puppy Raisers make a commitment to take a puppy home for approximately 12-14 months.  They provide a safe and loving home where the puppy will be taught housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The puppy lives with the family for 12-14 months.
  • Preliminary Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, attend two obedience training classes, a home visit by a Foundation representative as well as temp housing a young and old puppy.  
  • Future Requirements:  Food and toys are paid for by the volunteer and are tax-deductible. Foundation-approved food is approximately $50-$60 per month. Attending a minimum of two obedience classes per month held by our puppy advisors. Advisors are here to assist you with any questions. Veterinary care is covered by Foundation-approved veterinarians.  
  • Questions? Contact the Puppy Program Team at 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org
  • CLICK HERE TO APPLY   

Temp Homes: Volunteers care for a puppy or adult dog in their home for short periods as needed.  Temp homes provide a safe and loving home where the puppy will learn or maintain housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places. For an adult dog, they will maintain their good house behaviors and socialization.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The puppy temps the dog for a scheduled time period.
  • Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, obedience training classes with our puppy, and a home visit by a Foundation representative.  Veterinary care is covered by our veterinarians. Food is paid by the volunteer, approximately $50 per month.
  • Questions? Contact the Puppy Program Team at 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org
  • CLICK HERE TO APPLY   

Taxi Team:  Volunteers use Foundation-owned vehicles to transport dogs to various local and long-distance destinations.  Trips include local airports, veterinary clinics, or other destinations to meet Foundation volunteers, staff, or graduates.  The Foundation provides a vehicle and other necessary travel expenses as needed. Taxi volunteers are needed mostly in the New York area. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, depending on the trip
  • Requirements:  One-on-one training is provided before taking your first trip.  Must be at least 18 years of age, with a valid driver’s license.
  • Questions? Contact the Puppy Program Team at 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org
  • CLICK HERE TO APPLY    
 

Apply to be a Puppy Raiser, Temp Home caretaker, or Taxi Team member,
complete the online application found here.
 

  


 

Breeder Caretaker Homes: Volunteers care for an adult breeder dog in their home  Provide a safe and loving home where the dog will maintain housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places. Monthly obedience classes are required.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The dog is owned by the Foundation but lives with the family and is called to the kennel as needed.
  • Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, monthly obedience classes with our puppy, and a home visit by a Foundation representative.  Veterinary care is covered by our veterinarians. Food is paid by the volunteer, approximately $50 per month.
  • Questions? Contact Theresa Manzolillo, Breeding Program Manager, at 631-930-9066, or Kara Hickey, Breeding Technician, at 631-930-9000 x1269 for further information., Please complete our online form to apply for breeder caretaker. CLICK HERE TO PROCEED  
Community Outreach for Puppy Raising: Community outreach volunteers play a crucial role in spreading awareness of our need for puppy raisers by visiting local businesses and asking them to hang recruitment posters on our behalf.  
  • Hours of Volunteering:  Very flexible, can be done at your convenience – this is a great option for students who are trying to fulfill a short-term requirement for volunteer hours for school.
  • Requirements:  Volunteers should be friendly and outgoing with ability to travel to many local businesses (a car is very helpful!)  A brief (15-30 minute) preparatory meeting with a Foundation representative is required to get you started.
  • Questions? Contact Barrie Madasu, Volunteer Services Manager at barrie@guidedog.org.

Weekend Student Residence Volunteers:  Student Residence Volunteers act as “sighted guides” for our students during recreational time on weekend afternoons and/or evenings.  A volunteer takes a student (without his or her dog) on local, fun excursions.  Activities range from a trip to the mall, to a walk on the beach, to a night at the movies.  This program is a great way to make new friends from all over the country!

  • Hours of Volunteering:  12:00 PM – 4:45 PM or 4:45 PM – 8:15 PM weekends, when a Guide Dog Foundation residential class is in session.
  • Requirements:  Must successfully complete orientation and training session provided by the Foundation.  Volunteers must be at least 18 years old unless accompanied by a parent and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Questions? Contact: 631-930-9000, Barbara Kaiser, ext. 1602 or Kim Stasheff, ext. 1612  

Office Volunteers:  Our office staff could always use extra help with various office duties during the week.  Volunteers are needed to stuff envelopes and data entry.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, during normal business hours, 8am-5pm.
  • Requirements:  Experience with filing, faxing, prepping or scanning charts, data-entry, Microsoft applications, phones.
  • Questions? Contact: Maureen Palmquist, maureenp@guidedog.org, 631-930-9033   

Hospitality Volunteers: The Guide Dog Foundation provides students on class three meals a day, every day, during their stay on campus. Volunteers are needed to serve our students either breakfast, lunch or dinner on weekdays and weekends.

  • Hours of Volunteering: 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM or 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM or 4:45 PM – 6:45 PM weekdays and weekends, when class is in session.
  • Requirements: Training is provided for food serving as needed.
  • Questions? Contact: Maureen Palmquist, Maureenp@GuideDog.org, 631-930-9033  

Special Events Volunteers:  The Guide Dog Foundation holds several special events throughout the year.  Volunteers are needed to help prepare for these outings, both before and during events.  Special events include the annual golf outing and bike-a-thon. We receive a large number of application in this area and utilize on a very limited basis, please consider personal fundraising if you are interested in events. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Varies, depends on event
  • Requirements:  Training is provided for special events tasks as needed.
  • Questions? Contact: Jaime McGrade, Jaime@GuideDog.org, 631-930-9054  

Speakers Bureau:  Public speakers to represent the Foundation at events, our on-campus tours, and speaking engagements in front of groups of various sizes. 

  •  Hours Vary:  Depending on tours, event opportunities, and speaker requests. 
  • Requirements:  Volunteers must be comfortable interacting with the public in a professional manner. Training provided. 
  • Questions? Contact: Judy Pesner, Judy@GuideDog.org

Toy Drives:  Individuals looking to host a toy drive, or a towel drive or a “puppy shower”. 

  •  Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible. Volunteers may be able to do some work from home. 
  • Requirements:  Volunteers must submit the application for approval.
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org

Student Volunteers:  Student Volunteers act as “sighted guides” for our students during recreational time on weekend afternoons and/or evenings.  We also need volunteers to help with shopping for items the students might have forgotten from home and to visit with the students while on class in Huntington. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  12:00 PM - 4:45 PM or 4:45 PM - 8:15 PM weekends, when class is in session. 
  • Requirements:  Must successfully complete orientation and training session provided by the Foundation. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old unless accompanied by a parent and possess a valid driver's license. 
  • Questions? Contact Barrie Madasu, Volunteer Services Manager at barrie@guidedog.org. 

Sewing Club:  Sewing Club volunteers assist with the sewing and repairing of “puppy jackets”, the brightly colored jackets used to identify a future assistance dog in training.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, work from home
  • Requirements:  Volunteers should be comfortable sewing clothing and have access to a sewing machine.  One-on-one orientation is provided by the Foundation.
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org

Kennel Volunteers:  Kennel volunteers socialize our dogs in training by filling interactive toys, visiting dogs in and out of their kennel runs and brushing dogs.  Advanced volunteers will be trained to leash-walk and free-run dogs in the indoor and outdoor play yards.  We require a minimum commitment of 2 hours per month for 12 consecutive months.  Each volunteer must successfully complete the mandatory orientation and Level 1 training.  Volunteers can advance to Level 2, 3 and 4 by successfully passing reviews at each level.  The wait to volunteer could be 8 months or more. No groups please, only individuals can volunteer in the kennel.

  • Hours of Volunteering: 11 am - 4pm, every day.
  • Requirements:  Must be 16 years old, follow instruction, pay attention to detail, work independently in a structured environment, physically capable of bending and standing for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, lifting and carrying 20 lbs.   Must volunteer minimum of 2 hours/month for a year. Volunteers 16-18 years old must provide signed parental consent. 
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org, email is required.                               

How to Apply

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION

Please mail, fax, or e-mail your completed application to: 
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
Barrie Madasu, Volunteer Services Manager
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787
Fax: 631-930-9009
E-mail: Barrie@GuideDog.org

 

 Other Ways to Help the Foundation

  • Financial Contribution
  • Puppy Sponsorship
  • Participation in a sponsorship, special event, or toy drive
We gratefully accept donation of the following:

  • Poop Pick-up/waste Bags in rolls
  • Ziploc Gallon-Sized Plastic Bags
  • Gallon-Sized Plastic Bags-Twist-Tie
  • Ziploc 2-Gallon-Sized Plastic Bags
  • Ziploc Sandwich Bags
  • Wee-Wee Pads/Housebreaking pads
  • Baby Wipes/Wipe Refills
  • Clorox or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
  • Playtex Bottle Liners
  • Gently Used Clean Bath Towels (27” x 50” or larger)
  • Gently Used Clean Bath/Floor Mats with rubber backing
  • Gently Used Clean Blankets, Comforters, Baby Blankets
  • Full or Queen Flannel Fitted Sheets 
  • Kong® Extreme Toys- Black – Large, XL, XXL  
  • Nylabone® Brand Toys-Dura Chew, Big Chews
  • Size = Wolf or “Souper” Sized, Largest possible size 
  • Galileo® (Wolf or “Souper” Sized)

 Thank you for your interest in the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and in our volunteer programs!