TAP Empowers Veterans: Nicholas

In life, there are moments when one’s determination and the right support can lead to profound changes. Today, we celebrate one such story of triumph and transformation: that of Nicholas, a veteran who has found his path to recovery and well-being through the dedicated efforts of TAP’s Veteran Services.

A Beacon of Hope for Veterans

Nicholas’s journey with TAP has been nothing short of remarkable. Further, he describes the experience as “night and day” compared to his previous interactions with other supportive services. Nicholas notes the speed and passion with which TAP’s team operates, providing him with support on his path to recovery.

“I was thinking earlier about if TAP could have a hospital, everyone I know would go there. It’s like angels have been sent to help me,” Nicholas shares, reflecting on the impact of TAP’s commitment to veterans’ well-being.

Changing Lives Through Supportive Services

TAP’s focus on supportive services for veterans has opened new doors for Nicholas post-service. Moreover, unlike his experience with other programs, where he felt a lack of individualized attention, TAP quickly found him a stable place to live and meaningful employment. Nicholas now enjoys a satisfying work-life balance and numerous opportunities for physical activity. He emphasizes how these changes have played a pivotal role in managing stress and improving his overall well-being. “If it wasn’t for TAP, I wouldn’t have a safety net.”

Nicholas, who works at the Kirk Family YMCA, underscores the YMCA’s significant impact on his journey. He describes the YMCA as a place that takes its mission seriously, providing scholarships and support to individuals in need. Just like TAP, the YMCA has become an integral part of his journey toward recovery and stability.

A Bright Future Beckons

As Nicholas continues to improve his physical health and well-being, he has ambitious plans for the future. He aspires to obtain a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification and become a certified personal trainer, furthering his journey of self-improvement and helping others along the way.

The story Nicholas Anduiza shared with us serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of TAP’s Veteran Services to empower veterans and improve their lives. It’s a story of resilience, hope, and the power of community.

If you or someone you know is a veteran in need of support, TAP stands ready to make a positive difference. Reach out today and embark on your own path to recovery, well-being, and a brighter future. Together, we can create more success stories like Nicholas’s.

To support the work we do to support veterans like Nicholas, please consider donating.

Dr. Johns Joins the Team!

TAP has worked to improve the lives of those in our community for decades, from providing free childcare to protecting survivors of domestic violence to helping jumpstart new careers, and more.  TAP has mostly relied on grant funding; however, grant restrictions make it difficult to provide all of the services that families need.  Additionally, sometimes grants that meet major needs are discontinued adversely impacting the community. With more unrestricted funds, TAP can enhance its support of our community. For that reason, we’re excited to welcome Dr. David Johns, TAP’s newly hired Director of Fund Development!

Strengthening Local Communities

Dr. Johns graduated from Malone University with a degree in religious studies, earned master’s degrees in theology and library science, and was awarded a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. Dr. Johns then spent many years as a professor of religion and philosophy, teaching in Ohio and Indiana. He became increasingly involved with organizational leadership and became a college vice president in southeastern Kentucky. Most recently, Dr. Johns served as president of Ferrum College.

Throughout his career in higher education, Dr. Johns has been committed to improving the lives of those in need. After finishing his doctorate, he spent a sabbatical working with a nonprofit in Mexico City that focused on addressing poverty and strengthening local communities. As president of Ferrum College, Dr. Johns worked with local community leaders, elected officials, and other supporters to develop resources to support student success, especially students from families of great need. Throughout his administrative work in higher education, Dr. Johns has managed institutional budgets, overseen fundraising efforts, done strategic planning and assessment, and has been involved with alumni and community relations, all to support the institutions he has served.

Right at Home

Although he didn’t grow up in the area, Dr. Johns says that he and his wife, Susan, a speech therapist in the Roanoke City Public Schools, feel at home in the Roanoke Valley where they have lived for nearly six years. The mission of TAP resonates with him. Growing up in rural Appalachia, Dr. Johns has worked in and supported many small towns and communities. “It’s personal for me,” he notes. “If I had grown up in the Roanoke Valley, my family would have been served by TAP.”

We’re thrilled to have Dr. Johns join our family and look forward to seeing how his skill and passion for helping others can further TAP’s efforts in the communities we serve.

To donate to TAP, click here!

Campaign Update: Bringing Hope Home

After having surpassed prior years’ goals for our annual fundraising campaign, Bringing Hope Home, we are excited to bring you a progress report! We set this year’s goal to $300,000 and are happy to report that we’re on track to surpass this goal! As a result of the support of generous people and businesses, TAP has continued to lessen the burden of poverty in southwest Virginia.

Fire is the Test of Gold

With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, TAP worked to provide the same services we’re known for, as well as short-term crisis support. Now that the public health emergency has ended, we’ve shifted our focus to helping people rebuild their lives and communities. By providing job training, small business support, and more, TAP is strengthening the communities where we work.

You Mean the World to Us

Without your gifts, we couldn’t have met the needs of thousands of families in the region this year. Look for more details in our coming annual report about the impact you helped bring about. In the meantime, know that your support has truly been a blessing.

Thank you to all who have donated money or time to TAP over the past year. Bringing Hope Home provides funds that can be drawn on by TAP to support any of our programs, as needed. Because of your help, we can continue to sustain and create new pathways for low-income people in our community to build stable, full lives.

Make your gift today!

Supporter Story: Network Computing Group (NCG)

Mark Bowles, CEO and founder of Network Computing Group (NCG), knows the value of bringing hope to those in need. “Hope is one of the most crucial things. Making people feel hopeful is the first step in meeting their needs.” After talking to Mark and his team, you can tell how much they want to do right by the people they serve.

A History of Service

Mark has always believed that giving back is key. Before starting his own company, he was teaching a class at Virginia Western Community College and donating his time and skills to local nonprofits like the Science Museum of Western Virginia. After opening NCG, Mark continued to give back to the community by offering a discount to local nonprofits.

It’s clear that Mark has fostered a team at NCG that values giving. Dale Wolfenbarger, Chief Technology Officer at NCG, also gives his time and IT skills at his local church, as well as at the International Christian Centers for the Deaf. “NCG is a member of the community and any time we can give back to it, that is helping us thrive and grow; it’s best for all of us. If it isn’t growing around us, neither can we.”

A Stable Connection

NCG and TAP have been working together for nearly a decade. For the past three years, NCG has also been an Empower Sponsor of our annual Bringing Hope Home campaign. “I spent a lot of my time thinking about and running NCG, but now that I’m getting older, my thoughts are moving to charity and getting more involved in how the money is used and what the purposes are,” Mark told us. “It’s easy for me to give to TAP knowing that they know the needs of the area and that they know best how to use the money wisely.”

Thanks to NCG’s support, we have been able to grow our programs to serve even more people. “Every time I turned around, there was another program TAP was doing, another service TAP offered,” says Mason Walker, Chief of Information Security at NCG. “You wouldn’t be able to tell the story of community service without TAP. They are that story…If there were no TAP, there would be a net negative in the community.”

A Legacy to Build On

We wouldn’t be able to do our work nearly as well if it weren’t for supporters like our friends at NCG. “TAP is tried and true and, to have been there as long as they have, that’s something that brings hope to the community. It’s a solid platform to give hope to the people around here,” says Dale.

If you’d like to support TAP by giving, please click here. TAP also has volunteer opportunities available in our service areas.

Supporter Story: Roanoke Valley Orthodontics

Dr. David Jones stepped up to run Roanoke Valley Orthodontics (RVO) in 2014. Since then, he and his wife, Justine, have also made it a point to step up their support of many causes in the Roanoke Valley. Over the past six years, RVO has given more than $10,000 to TAP!

Selfless to the Root

Dr. Jones has been working to improve the lives of those in need since he was in school. While attending Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, he served in the Virginia Dental Missions of Mercy project, which provides free dental care to low-income people in the state.

After his dental training was complete, Dr. Jones and Justine moved to Roanoke and began to support the people around their new home. “We have always made it a priority to ‘give where we live’ and support the community that does so much for us,” he says. “We especially seek out organizations that focus on improving the lives of young people and families.”

Why Choose TAP?

“After learning more about TAP’s programming, we were called to support [its work],” explains Dr. Jones. “TAP makes a huge impact on the at-risk youth in our town, promoting and providing their further education. They also help our underserved adult population overcome financial and lifestyle obstacles to achieve personal success.”

While the Joneses support all of our programs, they took a special interest in TAP Head Start. “We have a family member who believes strongly in the Head Start program and [we] felt it was crucial to support it here in our community.” Since Head Start is one of our farthest-reaching programs, it also demands the most of our resources. We are thankful for Roanoke Valley Orthodontics‘ crucial support of Head Start and those the program serves. Through gifts like this, we prepared almost 1,300 kids for school just last year!

Embracing Roanoke

Roanoke Valley Orthodontics believes in improving the lives of the people they serve. “Our practice is centered on our tagline of ‘Embrace Roanoke,’ a play on words that speaks to our desire to truly support the community we live in. TAP also embraces our community through its programming and focus on literacy and education,” says Dr. Jones.

“TAP is an amazing resource for our at-risk community [members] to help them break socioeconomic barriers and develop them into contributory members of our community.”

Click to find out how to get involved in TAP’s mission.

A young mother poses with her toddler

Taxing Times: Keisha and the Tax Clinic

Going into the last tax season, Keisha, a hardworking single mom to three kids, almost didn’t file her taxes. She missed filing one year and for the next few years felt a sense of dread about filing. When she would think about her taxes, a nagging voice kept suggesting, What’s the point anyway? Why file when the government will just take even more of your hard-earned money? But deep down, she knew it was a problem she needed to confront, so she went looking for an expert to help. Tax Clinic to the rescue!

The Search for Help

After the shock of learning the cost to have her taxes filed at the big companies, things were off to a rough start. Keisha knew she couldn’t quit though; she needed to do this for her family. One of her kids was preparing for college, and Keisha knew her child would need to provide tax information.

Keisha had heard of our Tax Clinic but had never considered it an option for her. “I looked at a few different services, but they cost way too much,” she recounts. “So I called Teffany and asked what to do.” Teffany Henderson runs the TAP Tax Clinic. She works with our volunteer tax preparers to make sure clients receive the best services possible. She also works with the IRS to ensure the Tax Clinic meets all the latest guidelines and rules. If anyone would know where to start, she would.

Lending a Hand

Keisha was unsure about discussing her financial records with strangers, but Teffany helped put her mind at ease. “Teffany was super warm and gave me some great advice,” Keisha remembers. After reviewing her finances, Teffany knew Keisha was eligible for our services and helped her set up an appointment.

Keisha describes feeling a sense of relief at the combination of good, professional advice and the warmth of those she spoke with. “On the phone, I talked with another woman whose voice was just so kind that I was immediately comfortable giving them [my tax information] and dropping off my paperwork,” she says. And when Keisha explained that she felt she’d gotten into a mess with her taxes, the volunteer said, “Bring everything in, and we’ll take a look—and if we can’t help you, we won’t leave you high and dry. We’ll make sure to find someone who can.”

Back On Track

After filing her taxes for the year, volunteers helped Keisha file her back taxes too. As it turns out, Keisha didn’t owe money; the government owed her! Surprised, Keisha got a return on her back taxes. “I came out on top after [the Tax Clinic] did everything. I was able to get back on track.”

This tax season, anyone doing a simple return whose total filing income is $60,000 or less, or those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, can file for free through our Tax Clinic. (We can’t file for those with 1099s or freelance returns, or digital assets, like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, or electronic payments, like Cash App or Venmo, in excess of $600.) And, as we promised Keisha, if we can’t help, we’ll find someone who can.

Find Out More About the Tax Clinic

To make an appointment to get your taxes done or to see if you’re eligible, contact the Tax Clinic hotline at (540) 283-4804 or email us at taxhelp@nulltapintohope.org. For more information, check out our Free Tax Clinic page.