Stella: A tax client and mom who has come far but still struggles

Our tax client StellaStella works full-time at Pathfinder School as staff support for a classroom of adults with autism. She has been there for 11 years. When she first started, she was so intimidated, but has come to really enjoy her work with the students.

With the nature of the high needs of the students, Stella often feels like a mother, teacher, and nurse to them. It requires a lot of mental and physical energy and can be high stress at times.

Stella is a single mom with two kids of her own, living in the Hill District. Her son, age 25, has moved out and is working, and her daughter, age 16, is attending CAPA with a focus in vocals.

Stella first became a mom at 18 years of age. As a single parent and doing it all herself, she has been very grateful for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Section 8 housing to help her provide for her children. Some years were a struggle and others were easier.

In spite of being on Section 8 housing, her rent continued to rise, so she decided that she wanted to purchase her own home. Before getting a car, she wanted to work towards stable and reliable housing.

Stella received grant money from the Hill House to help make this goal a reality. She is now in her second year of being a proud homeowner. She feels she is still learning all about it and finds it exciting. She may use some of her refund towards furniture and other household items.

Now, her son grown and her daughter getting good grades and just a few years from graduation. She has been in the same job for 11 years, working full-time, and, with the protection of a contract and union, Stella enjoys high job security.

In spite of all this, she still has times where it is a struggle to provide for her family, making the EITC a great help. She takes care of her physical and emotional health by taking classes at the YWCA.  In addition to working out, she has met other single moms there and has developed a meaningful support system.

Stella was having her taxes prepared by Jackson Hewitt and paying as much $300 for their service until she learned about the free tax program at the YWCA. This year, when she called to schedule her appointment they told her they were no longer providing the free tax service, but referred her to 2-1-1, the United Way help and tax season appointment line.

When she called and learned that she could have her taxes prepared down the street from her house on a Saturday, she was relieved. She was grateful to do it on the weekend since she is pretty tired by the end of her work day.

Filing her taxes for free is very important so she can enjoy all the money that she’s getting back. She wishes more people in the community knew about this service.


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