High School Student Handles Tax Volunteer Position with Ease
When the dismissal bell rings at Mountain View High School, most students are ready to head home to relax or get something to eat after a long day of classes.
For several weeks this tax season, high school junior Brian Kersellius headed straight to Porter Library after school. He wasn’t there to study or work on a research project. He was there to volunteer as a Rappahannock United Way tax greeter.
“This is my first volunteer experience,” said Kersellius, who helped pre-screen tax clients and made sure they had all the correct documentation needed for free tax preparation. “I was kind of unsure at first, then when I got used to it, I realized it wasn’t as hard as it seemed.”
Kersellius, who said volunteering is a requirement for his high school International Baccalaureate program, went through 4 hours of training at Rappahannock United Way and had to pass two short online tests to become IRS certified for the volunteer tax greeter position. Kersellius said knowing what to look for on various tax forms and determining whether or not the tax client would need basic or advanced service got easier with practice.
“I learned by doing it,” said Kersellius, who was pleased with the training he received from Rappahannock United Way. “Repetition really helped. I felt like I had a lot of guidance through the process.”
Kersellius hit the ground running and screened a roomful of clients each day he volunteered.
“Once I started greeting, it flowed smoothly,” said Kersellius. “I was really able to help people effectively.”
Dealing with the public on this level was a new experience for Kersellius and he’s happy he had the opportunity.
“They were really thankful,” Kersellius said about the people he was able to help. “It brought them peace of mind.”
There are two reasons Kersellius said he would recommend this Rappahannock United Way tax greeter volunteer position to other high school students.
“I learned a lot more about taxes and the process in general,” said Kersellius. “I’ve never really dealt with people on this level before. It’s definitely increased my interpersonal skills.”
While the volunteer experience will be helpful on his college applications, Kersellius gained so much more than volunteer hours.
“As the person behind the desk, I got a different viewpoint,” said Kersellius. “It’s opened my mind. I had no idea this program existed. I was very surprised. I realized there are so many people out there struggling financially and it’s great to have a program like this that can at least help them a little bit.”
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