Community Voices: Paul and Ben, Volunteering as Family - United Ways of California

Community Voices: Paul and Ben, Volunteering as Family

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Read time: 2 minutes

Orange County, California

Paul has been a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer with Orange County United Way for six years. This year, his teenage son volunteered with him as well. 

It all started when Paul saw a flier at a local library looking for VITA volunteers in 2018. “I have been doing taxes for a long time, and it was easy for me to come and volunteer and help others do their taxes.”

While Paul enjoys doing taxes, what he values most is that VITA is helping people in his community through free tax prep.

“It’s fun for me to find bigger refunds for clients, but my favorite part is being able to help people. There’s a real need in the community. It’s a way to bring money back into the community.”

Paul says that he continues to see many of the same community members using VITA year after year, and it has become a service that they can rely on.

“These community members count on their refund to pay their bills or whatever needs they have. They want to get appointments as early as possible because they know they can count on United Way to get their tax refund. It’s really essential for them.”

This year, Paul thought his son would benefit from volunteering, too. Ben served as a VITA site greeter and helped clients with the intake process. He met a lot of people and got to practice interpersonal and communication skills—valuable for any high school student.

Though Paul is a tax pro, he says you don’t have to be to become a volunteer. In addition to providing free IRS certification for volunteers who want to help prepare returns, VITA sites have other volunteer opportunities, like Ben’s role supporting intake. 

“If you’re good with numbers or if you’re good with people, we have all kinds of volunteers. Anyone can be a VITA volunteer.”

“Volunteering is exciting, challenging, and really fulfilling.”

Interested in becoming a VITA volunteer? Fill out this form or text the word VOLUNTEER to 211-211 to get started today.

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