Diana Jimenez was first introduced to MAOF as an excelling student at Bell Gardens High School – as an elective option, she chose to work with MAOF’s Commerce Childcare Center. Years later, Diana battled and survived cancer three times. The illness took a serious toll on her body which led her to become disabled and forced her to leave her job as a Consumer Lender. “I was tired of staying at home and reading all day,” says Diana, “but I was determined to continue learning so I took a tax preparer course.”
Diana completed the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) course, a program that certifies volunteers in tax preparation and allows them to help low-income taxpayers file their tax return at no cost.
Once she was ready to put her skills into practice, Diana’s search for the nearest VITA provider brought her back to MAOF. Diana recalls the moment she saw MAOF on the list with excitement, “I knew they were the right choice…and I knew it was the right place to volunteer.”
Since joining MAOF as a volunteer, Diana has assisted the Special Programs Department with various projects, such as the VITA program as an IRS certified tax preparer. Diana does not dwell on her illness nor does she allow it to keep her from being productive. “I don’t want to fall back on helplessness,” she says. “I was put here on Earth to do something – God spared me to do something and it feels right to be helping [at MAOF].”
Diana expresses that, “volunteering helps get a different view of things; it clears the mind.” The optimism and courage to persevere along with the positive outlook on life that Diana carries with her daily are an inspiration. By sharing her story, Diana wishes to motivate and empower peers and community members not to allow mishaps derail outlooks toward a brighter future.
Her bright attitude, professionalism and resilience make her an outstanding volunteer.