Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Pam Roberts; Skilled in Taxes, Finances, She Helps Others Save

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Pam Roberts; Skilled in Taxes, Finances, She Helps Others Save

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Dozier

When people volunteer, they can change lives - including their own. Each week in Reason, we will highlight a volunteer's story of giving back and how that selfless act was a true revelation. The volunteer project is a collaboration among the Times-Union, the University of North Florida, the United Way of Northeast Florida and HandsOn Jacksonville.

Pam Roberts is no stranger to helping others.

Whether it was supporting her son's football team or coaching her daughter's cheerleading team, these roles not only allowed Roberts to be involved with her kids' extracurricular activities but also gave her an opportunity to help her community.

Therefore, in 2010, it was no surprise that Roberts didn't hesitate to sign up for a chance to volunteer with United Way of Northeast Florida.

Skilled in financial management and tax preparation, Roberts has volunteered with United Way's RealSense initiative for the past five years. This initiative is designed to save families money and promote responsible financial habits.

"While working at EverBank, I was introduced to RealSense and volunteered as a tax preparer," Roberts said. "In addition to having the skills and interest to do such work, it troubles me to see how much the general public is charged, at times, for something as simple as a tax return - sometimes $300 to $400 for 15 minutes of work. It's really unfair, especially for those who can least afford it. I try to help alleviate this by volunteering my time."

Roberts also teaches financial education classes and provides one-on-one money mentoring to three or four mentees for one hour each month.

"I want to help people who don't have or need to improve their skills required to better manage their money, financial accounts and, ultimately, their lives," she said.

When teaching a class, Roberts said she often discovers some participants don't know basic financial-management strategies, such as how to complete the register for balancing their checking account. …

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