VITA Program earns National Achievement Award from American Bar Association

VITA Program earns National Achievement Award from American Bar Association
Chris Reed, site coordinator for Barry Law's VITA program, holds the National Achievement Award with fellow students (from left) Chris Bailey, Daniel Berger, Michele Lebron, Lucie Robinson and Danielle Baron.

Orlando, Fla. – The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law has been recognized with the National Achievement Award from the American Bar Association Law Student Division. The award was announced on Aug. 4 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. It is the sixth consecutive year that Barry Law’s VITA program earned the honor.

Barry Law’s VITA program provides free tax help for low- to moderate-income citizens and assists them in completing their tax returns. Students who volunteered in the program assisted more than 500 citizens with their returns this year. The program provided tax assistance at five locations in Central Florida: the Barry Law School campus, the VA Medical Center, Orlando’s Coalition for the Homeless, Walt Disney World, and Barry University’s site on Alafaya Trail.

In a letter recommending Barry Law’s VITA program for the award, Nilda Cruz, a tax specialist with the Internal Revenue Service, wrote, “We at the IRS are privileged and honored to call Barry University Law School our distinguished partner for their outstanding dedication and service to the Volunteer lncome Tax Assistance program and to the community.”

Barry Law’s VITA program was launched in 2006 and was recognized that year with the ABA Law Student Division’s VITA Rookie Site Award. The program has been honored with the National Achievement Award every year since.

“We are grateful and honored that the ABA has again recognized all the Barry students who worked so hard to provide tax services for the elderly, our veterans, and other underserved members of our community,” said Leticia M. Diaz, dean of the Barry Law School. “The VITA program exemplifies the school’s mission and we are proud to aid our community with this service.”