VITA Volunteer Finds Personal Reward While Helping Others
Few people describe filing taxes as “beautiful,” but for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer Krisna Eastham, helping community members prepare their income taxes for free is incredibly rewarding.
Even with working a full-time job, managing a family and pursuing on an accounting degree online at University of Massachusetts, Krisna comes back to volunteer for VITA every year because of the positive experience.
United Way of Tarrant County’s VITA program provides free income tax preparation to households with incomes of $60,000 or less at centers across the metroplex. Over the past 13 years, VITA volunteers processed more than 80,000 returns, resulting in over $149 million in tax refunds for Tarrant County families.
Since Krisna became a VITA volunteer in 2010, she’s been helping families save money on tax preparation services and has been a huge asset in helping us serve Tarrant County’s diverse population. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Krisna helps those not fluent in English fully understand the entire filing process and tax-related terms.
“Taxes are complicated even when English is your first language,” said Krisna. “We have a lot of Spanish, French and Vietnamese speakers come in, and they are totally lost.”
For every VITA client, volunteers ensure they’re taking advantage of every tax credit they qualify for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Because of these credits, many families are surprised to learn how much their tax refunds can be. Clients are overjoyed because those large sums of money can make a big difference for a family.
Last year, she was able to help Diana and Carlos Moreno*, a married couple with six children at home, two of whom were about to start college and needed transportation. After preparing their taxes with Krisna, they discovered they’d be getting $26,000 back. Their refund allowed them to buy cars for their college-bound children.
“They hugged me and cried, and I reminded them that that is their money,” said Krisna.
For another couple Krisna assisted, a $10,000 refund meant finally owning their own home. They used this money for a down payment on a house, moving out of a rental property they could no longer afford.
Krisna is proud of the work she’s doing along with her fellow VITA volunteers. She encourages her children, friends, family and neighbors to take advantage of this helpful resource and to give back as volunteers. The gratitude her clients show drives Krisna’s passion for VITA.
“The satisfaction you receive when you help people with their taxes is beautiful,” said Krisna. “They are so happy because you are helping them.”
Join Krisna and our VITA volunteers to make a difference in a local family’s quality of life. Our volunteer opportunities include bilingual greeters, interpreters, savings ambassadors, intake specialists and tax preparers. With many tax sites spread throughout Tarrant County, you’re sure to find a location near you. Volunteer opportunities will continue at most locations through April 29, with two locations available through mid-October.
*Names have been changed.
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