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National Volunteer Week: RealSense – United Way

April 17, 2023

For National Volunteer Week, April 16-22, United Way of Northeast Florida asked the community to nominate outstanding volunteers to be recognized on our blog and social media. Congratulations, RealSense volunteers! Hear from Wesley James, RealSense volunteer coordinator, on why they are passionate about giving back through RealSense, United Way of Northeast Florida’s free tax preparation program.



Describe what inspires RealSense volunteers to give back to the community?
Many of them were once on the receiving end of RealSense services and were inspired by other volunteers who helped them. Seeing someone donate their time and energy to a program focused on community made them want to do the same. We inspire each other.

What would they say is the most rewarding aspect about volunteering?
Being able to provide a valuable service to Northeast Florida that eases financial burdens within our community would likely be their answer.

Describe the moment RealSense volunteers realize their volunteer efforts are making a real difference.
Each volunteer on the RealSense team has a story about a taxpayer they were able to positively affect. Most of these stories involve hugging and tears — there’s enough to write a book! From taxpayers receiving enough of a return to afford personal transportation and other quality of life improvements to amended returns that correct mistakes that brought hardship in prior years, it’s an incredible “book” to read.

Why is it important to help communities who are often overlooked?
We are a vast community with a plethora of backgrounds. We consistently survey and analyze community data to find the most accessible locations to better serve our taxpayers. It’s important to RealSense volunteers to assist overlooked communities because too many are struggling across Northeast Florida. It’s important to help our neighbors in need.

What does it mean to “Amplify Good” (United Way’s tagline)?

  • To do the right thing.
  • Being good to one another.
  • Looking out for your fellows.
  • Being part of something bigger.


Interested in becoming outstanding volunteers like RealSense volunteers? You can find a variety of community service projects all year long at United Way’s Volunteer Hub. Have any questions about volunteering with United Way and our partners? Email volunteer@nulluwnefl.org.