Students, alumni give back at tax clinics

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April 6, 2017
So far Amanda Barr has completed six tax returns, but it’s her goal to do at least 30 by the time she’s finished volunteering at the free income tax clinics.
Students providing taxes for seniors
Organized in partnership with the Lloydminster Senior Citizen Society, 27 Lakeland business students, including Barr, are volunteering their services at a series of income tax clinics in Lloydminster. 
 
“It’s great to be able to use my skills to help other people,” says Barr, a second-year accounting major in the business administration diploma program. “I’ve been able to interact with real clients and they’ve been so happy to have this help knowing that they’re not going to have a financial strain to get their taxes done.”

Students were trained earlier in March alongside community volunteers before completing three-hour shifts at the clinics. Seven of the volunteers – including Susan Davidson, CPA, CGA, manager of corporate accounting for Synergy Credit Union – are professional accountants who work in industry or for public accounting firms.

“These clinics are great for our community and also provide really valuable experience for Lakeland students,” says Davidson, Class of 1994 business administration accounting major. “Not only do they get experience preparing tax returns and becoming familiar with them, they also learn to deal with the confidential information and the different types of people they will encounter in the public.”

Davidson is one of the four organizers who’ve coordinated the 2017 tax clinics, which started on March 11. Seniors, students, low-income families and newcomers to Canada are welcome to attend the free walk-in clinics.

During the clinics Davidson and other volunteers prepare returns for members of the public and assist Lakeland students to do so as well. For Davidson and the students she’s mentored to date, it’s been a really positive experience.

“The students are very eager to learn and I think that also makes it fun,” she says. “It’s been wonderful to watch them dive right in to the work and become very competent quite quickly. Any time you can apply the knowledge you receive through any sort of college program, it makes it more real. It’s also something they can continue to do throughout their career.”

Working alongside professionals and even Lakeland alumni has been a valuable learning and networking opportunity for Barr and the other students. “Susan was just so helpful. She made sure everything I did was correct and showed me how it all works,” says Barr. “I’ve had a really good experience volunteering at the tax clinic thanks to Susan and everyone else. Being able to work hands-on with real clients, use my skills and connect with everyone has been incredible.”

Photo: From right, Susan Davidson, Class of 1994, helps Amanda Barr, a Lakeland student, as she prepares a tax return for a member of the community at the Legacy Centre. The free walk-in tax clinics are for seniors, students, low-income families and newcomers to Canada.
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With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

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Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

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Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

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There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
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– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

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I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
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– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.