The Helen Keller National Center in Port Washington, NY (HKNC) provides training and support for independent living while having practical, real world applications. The philosophy of HKNC is to prepare for a great job, where you pursue your passion and devote yourself to a cause. At North Shore Animal League America, our staff does exactly that! 

Because of our commonality, we wanted to offer the opportunity for Helen Keller residents the chance to work with us in our mission to rescue, nurture and adopt homeless animals by being part of our Mutt-i-grees® Internship Program. 

Together, our Educational and Volunteer Departments joined to create this unique and enriching opportunity for the youth at HKNC. As volunteers in our educational Mutt-i-grees Program they are working hands-on while gaining lifelong critical skills.

The loss of vision and hearing present daily complex challenges that can result in a life of dependency. Our Mutt-i-grees Internship is a platform for these young adults to be part of a lifesaving mission and gives them an environment where they can feel depended on, rather than being dependent.

Working with rescue animals also provides an opportunity to have responsibilities for another living being with the added benefit of the calming effect that comes from interacting with the dogs and cats. Often times they find themselves working with animals that are also blind and deaf, bringing a profound connection to the human-animal bond. This bond is not lost and a deep sense of their shared struggle brings them outside of themselves to comfort the animal in their care.

The entire experience builds self-esteem and fuels hope. North Shore Animal League America is helping to light a path that is navigable for a person with sensory impairment to experience the world via another being that also faces challenges and is trying to find their way. We are honored to be working with the compassionate and courageous youth from the Helen Keller Center.