Daria Westveer, accounting student at MSB-Shakopee, learned about a non-profit organization that provides free tax assistance each year to thousands of low-income, working taxpayers during a Global Citizenship class.
“There is a huge unmet demand for free financial/tax services where people cannot afford to pay for help, but with one hour of my time, I can increase somebody else’s income by 40%,” said Daria. This is where AccountAbility Minnesota volunteers come in to help.
AccountAbility Minnesota (AAM)serves taxpayers and sole-proprietors in the Twin Cities by helping them maximize their tax credit refunds they are due.(http://www.accountabilitymn.org/) This in turn helps boost their incomes, sometimes significantly. Daria served as a volunteer individual state and federal tax return preparer, where her responsibilities included maintaining strict confidentiality, providing as much privacy as logistically possible, following guidelines and procedures outlined in AAM’s volunteer training manual, working cooperatively with staff and other volunteers to provide high-quality service to customers while preparing state and federal tax returns for AAM customers using tax preparation software.
Said Daria, “This experience opened my eyes that every little step counts, and I do not have to wait for others to do something. I have the power to make a change and the impact is huge.”
The MSB-Shakopee leadership team felt Daria was deserving of the $2000 Community Service scholarship awarded last September. Clearly, she changed and grew with her volunteering experience. “Today, I can say it gave me a great experience and a valuable knowledge I would have never obtained from books or lectures,” said Daria. “Successful transformation starts with my choice to be accountable, it does not depend on other people like politicians or leaders, but on my willingness to be engaged.”