Student Volunteer Week, 1-7 April 2019, celebrates and recognises the contributions of young people making meaningful contributions to their communities.

At the Blind Foundation, we value all our student volunteers who donate their time to support people who are blind or have low vision. Whether they provide one-on-one support or group support or assist our clients with recreation, library services, guide dog services, help out with fundraising, or other activities that enhance our services, we are extremely grateful. Thank you!

We feature three of our student volunteers and share their stories:

Rachel Douglas's profile photo
Rachel Douglas

Rachel Douglas volunteers at the Guide Dog Training Kennels in Auckland every week.

Rachel Douglas thought of volunteering at Training Kennels because she loves animals. She is studying NCEA Level 3 at Alfriston College and spends every Saturday afternoon at the training kennels.

“I love being around dogs, they have so many quirks and fun traits,” says Rachel.

“I study all week and make sure that I have Saturdays free (unless there is a family thing) so I can be of help. Every time I go there is always a dog I can connect well with, either a young puppy or an older dog”.

Rachel recommends volunteering for students because it is a great opportunity to gain new skills and help a good cause at the same time.

Sophie Nannestad also volunteers at the Guide Dog Training Kennels in Auckland.

After Sophie completed a Certificate of Animal Care at Unitec, she chose to volunteer at the Training Kennels. Sophie volunteers on Friday afternoons and is studying at Unitec, doing a Bachelor of Applied Science, Animal Management and Welfare. She finds spending time with the dogs a great way to take a break from studying.

Sophie loves getting to know the different dogs and free-running them, playing with them, brushing, or just sitting with them. She finds it amazing that the dogs she is with every week might one day guide a blind or low vision person and make such a difference in their lives.

“Although as I’m studying animals, it also adds to my knowledge and experience about them”, says Sophie.

“Occasionally, if I have a lot of assignments due and I can’t volunteer, I’ll ring and let the Training Kennel staff know and they are always very understanding.”

Sophie thinks it’s a great idea to volunteer and recommends it highly to students.

Lara Featherstone, Training Kennels Manager loves having students help out: “Having students volunteer in Training Kennels is very helpful, We really enjoy having students who are enthusiastic to learn, get involved and commit to our volunteering programme.”

Emma Crabbe, volunteers in a variety of roles in Dunedin.

Emma Crabbe from Dunedin is studying Bachelor of Social and Community Work. She volunteers in various roles for the Blind Foundation and features in this volunteer video:

At the Blind Foundation, the recommended age for volunteers is 15 and above. If you are interested, visit our website for any roles that might interest you. We are currently looking to recruit volunteers to help our clients to learn how to use Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker.