Giving Back to the Community

Students sample a wide variety of volunteer activities in the community, and each student has a community service project requirement as part of the school program at Perkins.  Below are some examples, but be creative in finding something in your own community.
  • Preparing food in the kitchen

    Assisted Living Complex

    • At a local assisted living complex students help with plant care both indoors and out.
    • Residents converse with students and relationships are formed.  
    • On holidays students bring homemade craft items to share.  
  • Food Pantry

    • Housebound patients in recovery are fed homemade meals prepared in a facility staffed by students and community volunteers.
    • Students chop vegetables, wash fruit and pack crates alongside the other volunteers, forming bonds and sharing life stories. 
  • Hospital Settings

    • There are many opportunities to help others in hospital settings, students pack patient accessory bags, clean cafeteria areas and assist with mailings.
    • Students proudly wear uniforms, official name tags and sign in at the volunteer kiosk.
  • Fair Trade Cooperative (such as 10,000 Villages)

    • Customers who visit a “Fair Trade“ cooperative listen as students describe the products sold at the boutique, the origin and story behind the pieces of art or handmade clothing. 
  • Other volunteer opportunities

    • animal care at animal shelter, farms, zoosStudent feeding pigs
    • reading aloud to someone who is elderly or shut in
    • walk-a-thons or other fundraisers

Students who are often the recipients of so much goodwill are thrilled to be on the giving end, the fact they prove they have much to offer others is inspiring.


The following overall strategies are effective in helping student develop knowledge and participate in volunteer positions:

  • Create opportunities for students to learn about volunteer positions.
  • Coordinate a job fair to highlight the volunteer sites.
  • Conduct informal informational sessions to enable students to articulate questions and determine interest.
  • Conduct formal interviews to assess student readiness and commitment to the volunteer positions.
  • Incorporate functional academic lessons into volunteer jobs, including preparing necessary braille/print labels, step by step task analysis lists, and factual knowledge cards needed for some jobs.
  • Students develop journals detailing community service projects.
  • Students periodically update resume.
  • Encourage students to volunteer in their home community, often those short term stints lead to more permanent positions when the students reintegrate upon graduation.

volunteer collage

Total Life Learning by Wendy Bridgeo,‎ Beth Caruso,‎ & Mary Zatta

Cover of Total Life Learning

The Total Life Learning curriculum was developed for students ages 3 to 22 who are blind, visually impaired including those students who have additional disabilities or are deafblind. The focus is on the development of life and career goals that enable student to maximize independence, self-determination, employability, and participation in the community.