Volunteer Spotlight: Courtney Kelley

Courtney Kelley truly embodies the spirit of volunteering. Through her work with the Hudson Valley CA$H Coalition, short for Creating Assets Saving Hope, Courtney has filed the taxes of over 100 Hudson Valley residents free of cost. Courtney served as a Tax Counselor this past year.

The CA$H Coalition is a community coalition that enlists the help of local volunteers to complete over 7,000 people’s taxes locally. This work brings to our region an economic impact of over 6 million dollars.

Courtney was one of 192 volunteers who made this happen!

Courtney, a senior at Mount Saint Mary College, is majoring in accounting and hope to eventually earn her CPA qualification. She is local, a native of Sullivan County, and is incredibly grateful that she was able make a difference right here in the Hudson Valley. “I loved it! It was a great experience helping people and making them feel fiscally empowered.”

She set up camp at the Newburgh Library and Newburgh Ministry on Tuesdays and Thursdays-working with families and individuals to ensure that they were able to take advantage of government incentives such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. “It was great hearing what everyone was able to achieve as a result of having done their taxes, so many things that had been out of reach previously were now achievable. People told me about their plans to go back to school, buy a car, move out of their families’ homes and pay past due bills.”

Courtney was fortunate that, as Mount Saint Mary College is a CA$H partner, she was able to earn credit for her work with CA$H and had a chance to gain real life accounting experience. “I got to tie-in the topics I was studying with the work I was doing, volunteering for CA$H was helpful in particular for my federal income tax class.” Courtney went through 40 hours of training and completed a total of 150 hours of service to her community!

She was inspired by how empowered people became. “They had done paper taxes in the past and were nervous to do so online, but once they saw how easy it was some told me they would try it on their own next year.”

Courtney’s volunteering experience doesn’t end with CA$H. Courtney always gives back whenever she can and attributes this personal philosophy to her grandmother.

“She always made volunteering a priority, whether it was helping kids in the community or volunteering at the local library.” When she lost the battle with cancer, Courtney took it upon herself to honor her memory by furthering her legacy of doing good in the community.  At this point she joined Colleges Against Cancer and served on the accounting committee and activities committee and took part in the annual walk.

Courtney plans to volunteer for CA$H again this year. “It is such a vital program in our community and offers such a crucial service to so many people who may not do their taxes otherwise.”

The CA$H Coalition is currently recruiting Tax Counselors, Appointment Confirmation Specialists, Communications and Marketing Representatives, Client Facilitators, and Technology Coordinators. Interested volunteers may sign up at volunteer.uwdor.org.

—Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization