The 2016 tax season started Jan. 19, and among the volunteers helping at United Way’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) centers this year will be the mother-daughter duo of Gwenn Skipworth and Rebecca Robinson.
Gwenn, who is a proud 88 years old, moved from Garland to Fort Worth a year ago to be closer to her daughter. When she saw a Star-Telegram newspaper ad recruiting VITA volunteers last year, the retired IRS Tax Payer Representative knew that volunteering at a VITA site would be the perfect way to use some of her free time in her new community. When Gwenn told her daughter, Rebecca signed up too so she could spend more time with her mom while helping others. “She hates figures and math,” said Gwenn, “but she loves people. And she’s a whiz at the computer.”
As a VITA intake specialist, Gwenn reviewed the documents and information that taxpayers brought with them to make sure that they had all of the items required to complete their tax returns. Rebecca was a VITA greeter. She welcomed clients, directed them to the appropriate areas and smoothly managed the flow of visitors so that other volunteers could focus on tax preparation. When a woman brought her young daughter with her, Rebecca even played games with the youngster while the mother had her taxes done.
“The people who came for free tax services were hard workers; they just needed a little help,” said Rebecca. “And they trusted us and knew we would help.”
Mother and daughter both signed up to be VITA volunteers again this year. “When you help someone, you feel like you’ve really accomplished something, “said Gwenn. “I would definitely encourage people to help.” Rebecca agreed. “If you are in a position to help,” she said, “do it.”