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November 4, 2009 > Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

Submitted By Arnie Becker, Fremont Family Resource Center

Tax season seems a distant prospect for many but not for VITA's organizers. VITA, run by the Fremont Family Resource Center (FRC), serves more than 1,200 families from April 1 through April 15.

The planning and volunteer-training start in October and last until January. We must plan the physical facilities to accommodate both clients and volunteers. There is the massive training effort for new volunteers and refresher sessions for returning volunteers. Computers must be secured, updated, checked and assigned. Computer networking has to be installed and tested. Documentation and forms must be ordered, received and distributed. This is a huge undertaking by a fairly small number of coaches, FRC staff and trainers.

As always, the FRC wishes to augment capacity to serve more clients. WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS. Many different positions are available. Screeners, who greet and screen clients, tax preparers, coaches to assist the tax preparers and maintain quality control, and greeters who ensure a smooth flow of clients.

You do not need any special, previous training to be a VITA volunteer. Depending on the position, there is no cost. Comprehensive training is available at various locations. LinkandLearn is an online tutorial, for study at your own pace, with practice examples using the actual tax software and there are classroom-training sessions in Fremont and Hayward.

Training sessions start in December at the Hayward office of the Child Care Coordinating Council of Alameda County - December 4 (6-10 p.m.), December 5 (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.), December 11 (6-10 p.m.) and December 12 (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.). To register for this training or for more information, contact Hazel Knowles on (510) 584-3120 or email hazelk@4c-alameda.org.

Training at the Fremont FRC begins on January 9 (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) and continues for three consecutive Saturdays. For more information about volunteering at the FRC, call Carolyn Robertson on (510) 574-2020 or email crobertson@fremont.gov.

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