Last semester, Waynesburg University business students participated in a volunteer income tax assistance program through Blueprints, a nonprofit organization located in Waynesburg.
Assistant Professor of Business Administration Bill Stough said the volunteer program was a requirement for his Service Learning 105 class, a general education class all students are required to take.
The students received certification through the IRS to prepare returns and help local community members who were in need of assistance with their tax return paperwork.
“At Blueprints, we provided tax services for individuals in the community,” said Taylor McCall, a senior forensic accounting major. “We assist them by helping [with] their basic information - what they are filing, what forms they need filled out, making sure they have all their paperwork - and assisting them with any questions they might have.”
Olivia Ference, a junior forensic accounting major, said she understands how difficult filing taxes can be and was happy to help others in the local community.
“Personally, nothing compares to being able to help others. Some people do not even know where to start with filing their taxes and it can be a scary and stressful experience,” Ference said. “I am more than happy to use my knowledge and experience to help others, because I know what it is like to receive help within a time of need.”
Meredith Emmart, criminal justice major with an accounting minor, emphasizes the importance of service at Waynesburg and the impact their service has had on Waynesburg residents.
“[By] being able to work with the clients through Blueprints, I feel like I am truly making an impact on the community,” Emmart said.
The community service has not only impacted the lives of the community members but has also provided a valuable learning experience for the students who participated in the program.
“This service will help me professionally by helping me gain experience by being able to file taxes. I want to become a CPA one day and having tax experience is very beneficial,” Ference said.
“This service will help me in my career greatly. A lot of the businesses that I have been looking into do a lot of community service,” McCall said. “Ever since I was little, I was raised to do community service. This is why I chose to come to Waynesburg. I liked that it was community based and the college really tries to give back.”