We are fortunate to have the support of many dedicated Volunteers at both our Yorktown Heights, NY and Patterson, NY campuses.

To be considered for a position as a Campus Volunteer you must:

  • Be aged 18 years or older*
  • Meet the minimum requirements listed for the position
  • Be able to commit to volunteer consistently for a period of at least one year
  • Live locally
  • Have reliable transportation (no public transport available)
  • Adhere to a Code of Conduct

All potential Volunteers will undergo a screening, training and evaluation process prior to placement. Not all positions are open at all times. As our needs change, so does the availability of specific volunteer opportunities at our two campus locations.

Kennel Volunteers

Would you like to do some hands-on volunteering with our puppies or adult dogs that are temporarily housed in our kennels? If you’re a dog lover in good physical shape, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and if you can commit to a long-term schedule, you might enjoy volunteering in our kennels.

Kennel Volunteers assist in providing care and enrichment for our puppies and a wide variety of adult dogs that are temporarily housed in our kennels. Volunteers work alongside Guiding Eyes employees to ensure that our puppies and dogs live in a happy, healthy and stimulating environment.

With over 200 dogs housed temporarily in our kennels, it is of the utmost importance that our facilities are hygienic and sanitary, and so cleaning is a critical aspect of every Kennel Volunteer position.
Vanessa-BK Vol

75% of every Kennel Volunteer’s time is spent cleaning and disinfecting living areas and canine equipment, food and treat preparation, and other necessary tasks relating to the care and feeding of our puppies and dogs.

25% of a Kennel Volunteer’s time is dedicated to enrichment tasks such as exercising adult dogs, bathing puppies and perhaps providing additional socialization which insures a positive, enjoyable kennel experience for the puppies and dogs.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be able to make a long-term commitment of at least one year with typically one shift per week (Typical
  • Kennel Volunteer shifts are: 7AM-11AM, 8AM-11AM, 8AM-12PM, 12PM-4PM, 3PM-7PM, or 4PM-7PM)
  • Live within easy commuting distance of our Patterson, NY or Yorktown Heights, NY locations.
  • Be able to lift, push, pull and/or maneuver up to 40 lbs easily
  • Be able to bend, stand, stoop repeatedly for up to 4 hours without difficulty
  • Be able to kneel repeatedly on hard surfaces without difficulty
  • Sit on low chair for up to 20 minutes at a time without difficulty
  • Be comfortable handling and interacting with large dogs
  • Be comfortable performing tasks on wet, slippery, uneven flooring
  • Easily tolerate loud barking
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Perform cleaning tasks with industrial cleaning agents
  • Clean up poop, urine and vomit as necessary
  • Tolerate dog hair and dog slobber on your clothes and skin
  • Be able to read, write, listen and communicate verbally in English
  • Precisely follow written and/or verbal instructions
  • Specific vision abilities including close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus
Volunteer Drivers

Our Volunteer Drivers assist the staff of both our Training School in Yorktown and our Canine Development Center in Patterson by transporting our puppies and dogs between facilities and the regions we serve, using vehicles provided by Guiding Eyes. Trips are usually two to eight hours in duration (although some may be longer), and include destinations such as regional airports, veterinary specialists, and designated pick-up or drop-off locations.

This volunteer opportunity is perfect for someone who enjoys driving and is comfortable in a van-sized vehicle, can comfortably lift up to 75 lbs, and enjoys meeting new people. Guiding Eyes provides a vehicle outfitted for the safe transportation of animals, directions to and from your destination, and a cell phone, gas card, and EZ Pass for use during the trip.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Be 21 or older and able to make a long term commitment
  • Have a clean driving record (Guiding Eyes will conduct a DMV check at its own expense)
  • Be able to lift up to 75 lbs
  • Reside within the geographical area of Yorktown Heights, New York or Patterson, New York
Administrative Volunteers

Our Administrative Volunteers assist the staff of Guiding Eyes with a myriad of tasks, including database entry, preparation and collation of informational kits and bulk mailings, and special projects. Volunteers work closely with staff in helping to ensure that our programs run smoothly. This volunteer opportunity is ideal for individuals with basic computer skills and interest in learning new things. Guiding Eyes staff provides all necessary training.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Be 18 or older and able to make a long term commitment
  • Have basic familiarity with computers; knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Office is a plus
  • Be able to work at the Yorktown Heights, New York or Patterson, New York locations
Student Service Volunteers

Student Service Volunteers assist our blind and visually impaired students while they train with their new guide dog in Yorktown Heights, New York. Local residents are needed to support the students in a number of ways, including:

  • escorting students to local malls and/or events
  • shopping for personal items with, or for, the students
  • driving students to medical appointments, church services, etc.
  • assisting with lunchtime meal service

These volunteer opportunities are a perfect fit for someone with a warm and outgoing personality and a genuine interest in meeting new people from varied backgrounds. Student Service volunteers receive sensitivity training so they can interact confidently and comfortably with our students, and ongoing staff support is always available.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Be 18 or older and able to make a long term commitment
  • Successfully complete our Blindness Awareness and Sensitivity training
  • Be able to work at the Yorktown Heights, New York location
Volunteer Videographers

Our Volunteer Videographers assist the staff of the Canine Development Center in creating a visual record of our puppy testing, dog evaluations, and other training sessions. Armed with a video camera supplied by Guiding Eyes, videographers capture key developmental moments in the lives of our puppies and dogs. Videographers may also be asked to tape staff training sessions and special events.This volunteer opportunity is perfect for someone who wants to get an insider’s look at how we raise our puppies to become successful guide dogs. Guiding Eyes provides all the required equipment − camera, tripod, copying supplies − as well as simple instructions on how to use the camera.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Be 18 or older and able to make a long term commitment
  • Be able to sit, stand, and bend for extended periods of time, indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather
  • Be able to work within the geographical area of Yorktown Heights, New York or Patterson, New York

*For persons under 18 years of age we urge you (and your family) to consider participating as a:

Frequently Asked Questions

On Becoming A Volunteer…

Q.  My son/daughter is under 18 and he/she really loves animals and wants to volunteer at Guiding Eyes.  Is there something he/she can do for you?  What if I volunteer with them?

A. For liability reasons, all on-site Volunteers must be 18 or older whether they are accompanied by a parent or not.  However, we have several at-home options for youth, all of which require a commitment of at least one year.  Please visit our Home Socialization and Puppy Raising pages for more information about possible options.

Alternately, a good local resource for youth volunteer opportunities is The Volunteer Center of the United Way – 914 948 4452.  They may be able to connect you with other local non-profits that offer youth volunteer programs.

Q.  I’m thinking of retiring next year and would like to apply to volunteer now.  Should I?

A.  We prefer that you wait until you are retired and have settled into your new routine so you can accurately assess your availability to assist us.

Q.  I live in Manhattan and I’d like to volunteer.  I know I can handle the commute and wonder why you think it’s too far?

A.  Ideally, Volunteers live within about a half hour (one-way) commute of our facilities.  Experience has shown Volunteers residing beyond this radius either find the commute too expensive long term or, the traffic and weather become too unpredictable and strenuous to continue.  Since Guiding Eyes relies heavily on their Volunteers to meet the day-to-day needs of the dogs and pups, Volunteers need to arrive on time for their Volunteer Session.

Q.  Can I volunteer as my schedule allows?

A.  There are a few in-house volunteer opportunities that are on an as-needed basis, and more flexible in terms of scheduling.  These include drivers and mailing Volunteers.  However, the majority of our in-house volunteer opportunities are on a regularly scheduled basis and require a commitment to volunteer for a set day and time each week.

Q.  I am thinking of volunteering. Can I swing by and tour the place first?

A.  You are welcome to join one of our regularly scheduled tours  however all potential volunteers attending orientation will receive a full tour of our facility.  Unfortunately, we are unable to offer private tours or permit unescorted visitors.

Q.  I’d like to apply to volunteer.  Can you mail me an application?

A.  All applications must be completed and returned electronically.  Once you complete your application online and click submit, it is transmitted electronically in real-time to our staff, who will be in touch with you once your application is reviewed.

Q.  Why is there such an extensive application process to volunteer? 

A.  We think our puppies and dogs deserve the best and we want our Volunteers to enjoy their volunteer experience with us and stay for a long time.  The multi-step application process helps to ensure a great match is made for both.

Q.  What is the most common reason for a Volunteer Application to be declined?

A.  In a word:  time.  If you are not able to commit to volunteering with us consistently to learn the essentials skills that you will need to operate independently then typically your application will be declined.  We find most Volunteers are successful when they assist us at least once a week, every week.

Q.  I would like to volunteer on a Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  How long will it take for me to be placed as a Volunteer?

A.  The more flexible applicants are in their scheduling, the sooner they will be placed.

Q. If I volunteer with Guiding Eyes, will I receive special consideration if I want to adopt a released puppy or dog?

A. All applicants for released dogs and puppies are treated equally regarding their application process and wait time.

On Volunteering with the Dogs…

Q.  I heard you need volunteers just to play with the puppies/dogs?

A.  That is incorrect. With up to 180 dogs housed at our Training School Kennel and numerous puppies and dogs at our Canine Development Center, Volunteers are assigned to assist staff with cleaning the kennel, preparing food and treats for our dogs, bathing dogs, and providing enrichment for them.

Q.  I want to be a “dog walker”.  Do you need volunteers to do that?

A.  In addition to cleaning and food prep tasks, which typically account for 75% of their tasks, Volunteers may have a limited opportunity during each session to walk a few of our puppies and adult dogs.  Unlike a shelter, most of our dogs are exercised on a daily basis as part of their training by our staff.

Q.  Cleaning isn’t my thing.  Can’t I just play with the dogs or walk them?

A.  Unfortunately not.  Keeping our facilities clean and sanitary is of the utmost importance and where we rely the most on the assistance of our Volunteers.  Cleaning is a very necessary aspect of all volunteer positions in our kennels.

Q.  Does every volunteer position in the kennel require picking up poop? 

A.  Yes, hygiene is very important to us and anyone assigned to work directly with our puppies and dogs must be prepared to pick up poop and clean up any other accidents or messes.

Q.  Why do you have to lift up to 40 lbs to volunteer in the Kennels?

A.   Volunteers and staff alike need to be able to lift and carry heavy bags of food repeatedly and independently.

Q.  I have a bad back/knees/neck, but it’s not that bad… Can I volunteer in the kennel?

A.  No.  Volunteering in our kennels involves highly repetitive bending, lifting, kneeling and stooping.  Even the slightest problem can be seriously aggravated by these highly repetitive motions.  You might want to consider other volunteer options at either of our campuses, such as administrative work or volunteering with our visually impaired students.

Q.  Do Kennel Volunteers train the dogs to be guide dogs?

A.  No.  Kennel Volunteers are responsible for the care and feeding of up to 180 dogs.  Guiding Eyes has a staff of qualified guide dog instructors responsible for training the dogs to guide a blind or visually impaired person.

On Volunteering For Community Service Hours…

Q.  I/my son/daughter needs community service hours – fast!  Can I/he/she volunteer with you?

A.  Adults aged 18 years or older may apply to volunteer on-site with us however, because of our application and screening process, it may take up to 2 months for an individual to be placed as a Volunteer.  We also require volunteers to intend to commit to one full year of volunteering with us.  If this is court-ordered community service it must be for a misdemeanor (proof of judgment is required).

For liability reasons, on-site volunteers must be 18 or older whether they are accompanied by a parent or not.  However we do have several at-home options for youth, all of which require a commitment of at least one year.  Please visit our Home Socialization and Puppy Raising pages for more information about possible options.

Alternately, a good local resource for youth volunteer opportunities is The Volunteer Center of the United Way – 914 948 4452.   They may be able to connect you with other local non-profits that offer youth volunteer programs.

On Volunteering with the Blind…

Q. I’d like to come in and read to the blind.  Can I do that?

A.  With a wide variety of audio books available, and adaptive technologies (such as email and cell phone apps), there is simply not a need for volunteers to read to our students.  They are also very busy training with their dogs in the short amount of time that they are here!  To learn more about other volunteer opportunities with our students visit our Student Services page.

On Working at Guiding Eyes…

Q.  I want to work at Guiding Eyes.  What if I volunteer first?

A.  While some of our staff began their connection to Guiding Eyes as a Volunteer, Guiding Eyes does not give preferential treatment in hiring of staff to Volunteers.

Q.  I want to be a Guide Dog trainer.  Do Volunteers learn how to be trainers?

A.  No.  Guide Dog Training is a very specialized field.  Volunteers may learn simple basic commands while volunteering in our kennel, but they will not learn how to train a guide dog.

Link to Applications

Please visit our Forms & Applications page for all online and PDF forms.

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