Faces of Success: Julius Shook
For 30 years, Julius Shook served his country as a member of the United States Air Force. Last spring, he decided it was time to serve Nashville.
“I’ve been in 40 countries, but Nashville is my home,” said Shook. “I was at a job fair and was probably overqualified for most of the jobs that were available. I saw the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Free Tax Prep program booth, spoke to the United Way representative and told him I was interested. It was an excellent opportunity for me to get involved in the community and also receive additional training.”
The VITA Free Tax Prep program provides free income tax preparation to individuals and families who qualify based on income. Shook knew it was a great volunteer opportunity for him. He signed up to serve as a greeter during the 2016 tax season.
“There was a fair amount of responsibility with my position,” said Shook. “I had the chance to revisit some of my military skills and also was responsible for other people again. It was challenging but also rewarding to me.”
Last year, volunteers prepared more than 15,000 tax returns through the VITA Free Tax Prep program. Individuals and families received nearly $24 million in refunds and $4 million in tax preparation fee savings. Shook appreciates the difference the program can make for those who rely on it to save money each tax season.
“I remember my experience with a retired marine who I helped. He told me the program was a tremendous benefit for him. I also had a couple of single mothers who came up to me and told me they appreciated my help with all of their paperwork at the beginning of the filing process.”
Shook says he will volunteer with the VITA Free Tax Prep program again this year. He’ll serve as an IRS-certified tax preparer for the upcoming tax season and looks forward to another rewarding tax season experience.
“Volunteering is good for my heart. There’s a law of sowing and reaping that I believe in. As I sow, I also reap the rewards of giving back.”
Shook encourages others to join him as VITA Free Tax Prep program volunteers for the 2018 tax season. Those who are interested are not required to have a financial background or expertise. Anyone who is comfortable with computers, has a desire to learn an important financial skill, and has a passion for giving back to the community can volunteer with the VITA Free Tax Prep program. If you are interested in making a difference in the financial futures of hardworking Middle Tennessee residents, consider becoming a VITA volunteer and put dollars back in the pockets of those who need them the most.
To volunteer with the VITA Free Tax Prep program, please visit: http://www.volunteerforvita.org/.