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Alejandra joined The Unity Council’s team through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the beginning of the 2018 tax season.

Like many of our VITA volunteers, Alejandra joined VITA to complete the community service hours required by one of her classes. And like the majority of our VITA volunteers, Alejandra ended up helping for longer than she expected because she saw the impact the program has on the lives of low-income Oakland residents.

Alejandra likes that the VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance for low-income individuals and families. But what she likes the most about the VITA program is that the majority of the families that benefit from this service live in the Fruitvale, which happens to be Alejandra’s neighborhood.

“I appreciate that the VITA program provides a service that is needed in the neighborhood and the main goal is not making a profit.”

When asked what her favorite part of volunteering for the VITA program was, Alejandra responded, “sharing information about the other services and resources available to the community.” Alejandra explained that people come walk into the building expecting just one service and walk out with lots of options and opportunities to meet their career or financial goals.

The VITA program is part of The Unity Council’s Community Programs, which offer other services like free financial and career coaching to people looking for a job, developing new job skills, learning about how to have better financial management and more!

After preparing the tax return of an elderly couple, Alejandra shared information with the couple about the other services available to them. The couple was so excited about the other programs and services Alejandra offered that they called her their angel.

For Alejandra, being a VITA volunteer was a pleasant learning experience and an inspiration:

“The program inspired me to serve the Fruitvale and the Latino community.”

Alejandra is looking forward to graduating from UC Berkeley in 2020 and to continue her work supporting her beloved community.