Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Life You Have Changed - Nora Mendez

We are always looking for good stories to illustrate why it's so important to join us in the LIVE UNITED movement. Many times we talk about the lives that you can be a part of changing, and now it's time to start meeting some of those whose lives are better because you care about Northwest Arkansas.

As we promote free tax preparation services throughout the region, here is a story of someone's life that was truly changed because of the access you helped provide through generous gifts of time, money and attention you bring to the issues around financial stability.

My name is Nora Mendez - a single mother of three who came to Arkansas after we lost everything but our car and some clothing to Hurricane Katrina.

As the shock of what happened started to wear off, my family was left to look for assistance in this new place we were calling home. What I found was a program called Asset Development offered through a United Way partner, Office of Human Concern, which gave me the opportunity to get my life back on track.

One of the resources available to my family through the program was the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) service. Getting my taxes prepared for free and getting all the credits like EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and the Child Tax Credit allowed me to pay down past debts and plan for my future.

I used the VITA service again this year and will receive a return that will enable my family to be free from financial struggles in 2010. I can actually have a savings account and start teaching my children the importance of saving money and paying bills on time.

Without VITA it would have cost me over $400.00 to have my return prepared and get a RAL (Refund Anticipation Loan) so I could get money in time to pay my bills. VITA prepared my return and in about 10 days the funds will be direct deposited to my bank account, all for FREE!

On behalf of Nora, and the hundreds of other lives you have touched - Thank you!

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