WASHINGTON, PA (April 7, 2021)—As Tax Day approaches, Washington & Jefferson College students are here to help Washington, Pa., community members file for free.
For the past two years, Instructor of Accounting Dana Allen, C.P.A., M.S.T. has led a course for students to participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program with Washington non-profit Blueprints to offer free tax preparation to community members who are low-to-moderate income level families, are disabled, or have limited English-speaking abilities.
Through the partnership, W&J students learn more about tax laws, develop their communication skills, and have a chance to support the local community. Students involved are required to complete a thorough training and obtain Pennsylvania state clearances to serve as volunteers. The program is open to all W&J students, though it is specifically advertised to student in courses for accounting, business, economics and finance majors and minors.
“I think it’s great for both parties. We’re helping them, but I’m getting tax background for when I go out into the professional world,” said senior accounting major TJ Dinnin.
In Spring 2020, 19 students participated in the program. They began their volunteer work in-person at Blueprints and volunteered more than 250 hours before the center was required to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the program has adapted, and a 23 students are volunteering services over the phone and via web chats through April 30. As of April 7, the students had complete 380 hours of service.
“I personally believe that volunteering is good for the heart, so if you’re able, give a little extra time or money to people in need. I’m grateful that W&J could get me involved in a volunteering program even in a pandemic,” said senior accounting major Mary Kate Tarczynski.
The program is just one of many ways W&J helps students pair their academic journey with meaningful practical experience to prepare them for their next steps after graduation.
“Real world experience is so valuable to students. You can learn everything in the classroom, but when you get out in the real world you need to know what you’re doing. This is a great way to apply what we’re learning,” TJ said.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.