A Two-Way Street
Volunteers are an important part of the Achilles community and take on numerous roles, such as:
Helping disabled runners become familiar and proficient with special equipment
Participating in weekly or bi-weekly workouts
Providing guidance and running advice during races and marathon
Helping out with race-day logistics.
While their general role is to accompany disabled runners during the course of a workout or race, on any given day an Achilles volunteer will function as a member’s eyes, ears, guide, and motivator. But ask any Achilles volunteer why they do it, and you’ll hear the same answer, over and over: they get back as much as they give, and more.
"Walking as a volunteer with Achilles makes you a better person. The first time I walked with a visually impaired athlete, she was able to tell me about the areas we were walking by. The birds and the open fields. I had the vision but missed what she heard. I have learned to take better notice of the beauty in everyday life. We learn that you can accomplish whatever you want, there are only different abilities — no disabilities — in life. " — Achilles Volunteer
How to Volunteer
To become an Achilles volunteer you must complete a volunteer application form. Download the paper form below, complete it, and fax, mail or scan and send as an email attachment.
Attn: Jenna Goretzki
42 West 38th Street
This form is a General Volunteer Form. It is NOT an application for the NYC Marathon.
*NYC CHAPTER VOLUNTEERS! Please click here to find out about all the local Achilles workouts and events!
VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.
This month, we highlight volunteer Bond Caldaro!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
In 2009, a close friend was running in Central Park and saw a runner whose shirt said ‘Deaf’ accompanied by a guide. She took note of the name on their shirts: Achilles! She knew I was proficient in ASL (American Sign Language) and encouraged me to look into it.
When did you first become a volunteer/guide?
After contacting Achilles in the summer of 2009, I learned about the different opportunities for guiding. My dad is a Type I diabetic, and I was encouraged to participate in the Friedman Diabetic group on the Lower East Side then. I joined them in that Fall.
What has that experience been like for you?
Being part of Achilles offers me the opportunity to be part of a warm and welcoming community. As so many people say, it is an “Achilles Family”. It is an integral part of my life in New York.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer/guide.
I had the amazing opportunity to be a guide for Eliza Cooper (a blind runner) when she won the USA Paratriathlon National Championships. A few weeks later she called me with the news that she had been invited to join Team USA. I was overwhelmed with joy. After spending time with Tyler McNeil (an Achilles member with Autism) and running the marathon together, we both happened to be at another race a few months later. The race awards were given out in an auditorium. When I entered the room, he waved to me and pulled down the seat next to him, inviting me to join him. In my mind, that was the day we went from guide and athlete, to being friends. Nothing is sweeter than sipping root beer floats outside of Shake Shack with Sarah Heller (TBI), after the NYC Tri, wearing identical outfits, and getting compliments from fellow triathletes walking by!
Please name one or two athletes you have guided.
Abbey Shaw (nee Lanier) and Mel Blume.
Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being an Achilles Guide?
You don’t need to be a fast runner to be a guide! You might not even need to be a runner. Some guides walk with athletes, others swim, others bike. You can even take on a new challenge yourself. I had never participated in a triathlon until Abbey invited me to join the Achilles Tri Team!
Mention a little about your background.
I grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY. My day job involves mathematical modeling for bank regulation. When I’m not sporting with Achilles, I also play on a competitive field hockey team. And when sporting isn’t an option, I watch the trashiest shows I can find on PBS (Poldark? Grantchester?) and concoct some impressive bachelorette dinners. (Recipes for things like ‘Popcorn – The Cereal’ provided upon request.)
Anything else you might like to add?
Infinite thanks!!! I know that Achilles has limited resources and that everyone involved is always going far above and beyond! Achilles has offered me opportunities, experiences, and relationships that deeply enrich my life.