VITA Volunteer Kholoud Abdullah Pays It Forward

Apr 15, 2014
by. Jerico Paguio
Tax Day might be the end of EBALDC's VITA season, but we appreciate our volunteers year-round.  Today we recognize another of our dedicated volunteer tax preparers.   
"I saw the sign. 'FREE Tax Prep.'"
Kholoud Abdullah had an appointment lined up to get help with her taxes last year when she walked by the sign “FREE Tax Prep” on her way home.
Originally Kholoud’s husband was skeptical of a free site, because in his mind, free didn’t equal professional.  It took a little convincing, but they canceled their other appointment and gave the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program a try. “It was our first time filing and we didn’t know how to,” Kholoud said, “but when we came to VITA, we felt very supported. Everything was explained to us.” The environment, she notes, was the biggest reassurance.  She found the staff to be cheerful and helpful, and the process fast and very professional.  “I learned about federal vs. state, and then even some savings options," she adds.
This year, Kholoud has been sitting on the other side of the table, as a volunteer tax preparer. “I wanted to give back so other people can have the same experience I did," she said.  With a degree in biology, she didn’t know if she would be a candidate to volunteer; she thought that volunteers needed experience in finance. She soon learned that EBALDC provides tax preparation training for volunteers to become IRS certified for VITA.  Kholoud also discovered that the desire to help, not educational or professional background, was the common denominator among volunteers. 
She was so excited about the opportunity to serve that she even recruited her brother to volunteer for VITA. “As a volunteer I like VITA even better," says Kholoud. "The smile I see on clients' faces...I was in their place last year so I can relate.”  She says,“I plan to do this every year.”