07 Apr Volunteer Highlight: Byron Chan
What do rural Alaskan fishing villages and downtown LA have in common? Its citizens have received free tax preparation assistance from Byron Chan. Byron first became a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer through his law school’s program, where he took on a volunteer opportunity to travel through rural Alaska’s nature while helping people with their taxes. At the time, he thought it would be a one-time experience–but when a chance encounter with an old friend led him back to VITA through LTSC’s program, he’s been helping our community file their taxes ever since.
Byron was one of the first volunteers at LTSC’s VITA program and has seen it grow over the past 7 years. Though it’s not often that we hear someone say that they look forward to tax season, tax season is a chance for Byron to catch up with the community he’s become close to.
“It feels so good to see these (volunteers) again and build relationships with them. But it’s also the clients because, some of them, you get to see them every year and it feels like you get to check in with them at this really important life moment,” said Byron. “When people are filing their tax returns, it’s a personal moment. People are showing you what they’ve done in the past year, if they’ve gotten new jobs, or if they’re looking for new jobs, or retiring–filing your taxes is an incredible moment in everyone’s lives in a weird way, because it’s so mundane, but you get to see how they’re doing.”
LTSC’s VITA program offers free tax preparation assistance for low and moderate income folks in our community. Volunteers like Byron help folks navigate the tax filing process, maximize returns, and provide guidance on preparing for future tax returns. The program has grown steadily over the years, as more people have stopped by to get help.
“You are helping out, which is wonderful, but you get so much out of it and it’s so much fun. I’ve always felt like it’s something I look forward to because of all the stories and all the folks who you meet and all of the folks at LTSC. You’ll never get to put in as much as you get out of it. There’s so much to look forward to, and I think that’s why so many volunteers keep coming back,” explained Byron.LTSC is grateful for talented and dedicated volunteers like Byron, who keep coming back year after year. Without the dedication and commitment of our volunteers, LTSC would not be able to provide much needed services that make big impacts in people’s lives. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with LTSC, please check out or Volunteer Match page to get involved!