Volunteers are an integral part of the LUM Income Tax Assistance Program; and this year, 15 LUM volunteers studied and received IRS certification to prepare tax returns. It’s a big commitment of their time and effort, but the return for volunteers is big too. Today we’d like to shine a spotlight on one of our superstars — Andrea Schmidt.
Originally from Waukegan, Illinois, Andrea earned a BS from Northwestern University (Elementary Education/Linguistics) and a Master’s in Education from University of Illinois, Chicago. She and her husband, David, moved to Lafayette in 1992 so he could take a job as a physician in private practice after 11 years as an US Air Force physician.
She then earned an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from Ivy Tech Community College and was a paralegal for over 10 years. Andrea and David, both now retired, have three grown sons – John, who lives in Phoenix; and Christian and Peter, who live in Lafayette. They have six grandchildren – two from each of their sons.
Andrea has volunteered at LUM for six of the past seven tax seasons. She donates 15 hours of her time each week.
“I enjoy helping people in such a real and tangible way. For some of my clients, a full one-third of their annual income comes from the tax refund we are able to secure for them through LUM. And because we don’t charge for our service, low-income wage earners are much more likely to file their returns.”
Andrea says the best part about his volunteer work in the LUM Tax Assistance Program is that it helps her to better understand the lives of low-income wage earners. “My stereotypes are challenged every time I come to LUM. I am amazed by how hard people work and how far they are able to stretch their limited dollars. It’s a real eye opener.” The remainder of the year, Andrea volunteers with the LUM Good Samaritan Program.