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!
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.”
Total Action for Progress (TAP) is requesting proposals from qualified vendors for cellular phone and tablet services. The purpose of this RFP is to enter into a contract, beginning on July 1, 2023, with a qualified person or entity, to obtain cell phones, service for cell phones, tablets, service for tablets, and hot spots.
Proposals are due by 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 20, 2023.
TAP Books sells pre-owned books online and uses the profits to fund other TAP services. It also provides jobs to those who need to build their résumé. It’s a win-win situation, but we need the help of volunteers to keep the program running smoothly.
More than just books
Today it seems like even entry-level jobs require some form of work experience. It’s a Catch-22: you won’t be hired without experience, but you can’t gain experience without being hired.
TAP Books is a social enterprise that opened in 2018. Staff scan, file, and warehouse donated books in order to sell them online to generate profit. This financially supports other TAP programs. But its mission extends beyond simply generating financial support—it’s also about providing reliable work to encourage growth in job skills. With an open mind and an “outside-the-box” mentality, staff have the chance to strengthen the program, gain valuable work experience, build their résumés, and convert their skills into something of greater value.
How you can help
Our staff work hard, but they can’t run the program alone. We need the help of volunteers like you to keep TAP Books running. Sign up as an individual or a group and help support this valuable program.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, check out our Free Tax Clinic page.
Supporter Story: Carter Bank & Trust
We’d like to thank Carter Bank & Trust for being a great community partner. Through their CARE Forward campaign, which started in 2021, the bank donates $10 to TAP for every new checking account opened at specific bank locations. Since the campaign started, TAP has received roughly $11,000!
Aaron Tsang, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager at Carter Bank & Trust, says, “We were extremely proud to partner with TAP during 2022 through our CARE Forward program. Caring for and investing in local communities has been a core value of Carter Bank since its founding, and TAP has continued to find ways to care for and have a positive impact in the Roanoke community through its many incredible programs. We will continue to partner with TAP and other nonprofits in charitable giving and volunteer services throughout 2023 and beyond.”
It’s through the generosity of community partners like Carter Bank & Trust that we can continue to help transform the lives of our neighbors in need.
During the pandemic that kept many people—especially the elderly—housebound for over a year, safe housing became more important than ever.
When Kenneth Hayes found himself spending more time at home than usual, he knew it was time to finally make his home of almost 30 years a safe place to live.
Before the house belonged to Kenneth, it belonged to his aunt and uncle. Kenneth was the only one of their nephews who frequently came by to visit and check on them. When his aunt passed away in 1992, Kenneth moved in to care for his uncle, who was around 100 years old. A few years after Kenneth moved in, his uncle passed away, and he has lived alone in the house ever since.
“I can breathe again.”
While Kenneth has many good memories of spending time at the house with his uncle and aunt, he also watched it become more and more dilapidated over the years. “When I was younger, I could do things,” he says, but at 70, he felt overwhelmed by the accumulating issues. The bathroom ceiling collapsed. The siding was damaged. The back porch was unsafe to walk on. Eventually, his homeowner’s insurance was canceled due to the home’s condition.
For 15 years, Kenneth couldn’t leave home when it rained because he had to push a trash can under his leaking roof and empty it before the floor flooded. From holes in the floor and roof to broken pipes, the house was full of dangerous problems, and he felt like there was nothing he could do about it. Now, thanks to our Major Rehabilitation program, he says, “I can breathe again.”
TAP staff worked with the insurance company and got them to cover the repair period. With that protection in place, the improvements started.
When Lee Lovern, our construction manager, surveyed Kenneth’s house, he noticed an immediate danger: a broken pipe was leaking carbon monoxide into the basement. He fixed the pipe right away and installed a carbon monoxide detector. Over the next two months, the program completed all the major repairs that the house needed, including fixing the floor, siding, and roof. The total repair cost was $88,500.
“You don’t have to look back.”
The repairs were a major relief for Kenneth. “I don’t think I could have made it another year like I’d been making it the past 15 years.” When your house is in bad shape, he says, “weather can shut you down.” He’s glad not to have to worry about rain anymore.
Now that TAP has helped Kenneth get the major repairs out of the way, he can work on his own projects around the house. Lately he’s been painting the hallway, his bedroom, and the bedroom where his great-grandkids stay when they come to visit.
He recommends TAP to anyone who needs house repairs to keep them safe. Once the major problems are fixed, he says, “you don’t have to look back.”
Supporter Story: Project Discovery Scholarship Fund
Dr. Bush Kavuru knew he wanted to help young people pursue their dreams of a career in medicine. He just didn’t know where to start. When he saw the work that TAP Project Discovery was doing, he decided to reach out. Together we found the perfect opportunity to make an impact.
Project Discovery Helps Students Find Hope
Project Discovery helps students find an appreciation for learning. With this appreciation comes hope for the future. The program prepares them for college and life beyond high school. It also provides them with a place to build character and gain self-esteem. Students receive help with college applications, the financial aid process, college tours and more.
A Group of Doctors Believe in Project Discovery Students
Dr. Kavuru knew many of our Project Discovery students come from families that struggle financially. With this knowledge he set out to create a college scholarship fund. He reached out to his colleagues and the response was overwhelming. Nine people from the medical community—all of Indian descent—contributed to the fund. “I sincerely believe that every person has the innate capacity to grow and achieve great things. Sometimes circumstances may become roadblocks in that journey,” says Dr. Kavuru. “What I can do as an individual is to remove a small roadblock, but as a group we can help more!”
Project Discovery Scholarship Fund Helps Five Students with the Cost of Nursing School
In two years, the Project Discovery scholarship fund has helped five students with the costs of nursing school. The donors knew that by giving to these students they were helping to build brighter futures. “Nurses are very vital and pillars for the healthcare team,” says Dr. Kavuru. “We love to support people who [take] up this path and help them or mentor them as much as we can.” Each of the donors wanted the students to know that their community believes in them. They wanted to show them that a fulfilling career is possible. “It’s our urge and desire to tap the young talent from underprivileged communities and give them support in fulfilling their own dreams and career goals,” explains Dr. Kavuru. TAP exists because the people of southwest Virginia believe in working to make life better for everyone. This group of doctors embodies the true spirit of our community. Because of them, these students will have support in achieving their dreams.
Supporter Spotlight: Eddie Smith
Local business leader and lifelong Roanoker Eddie Smith believes that “the one characteristic that makes our community so special are our people.” It’s that love for his community and the people who live here that’s led him to be a long-time TAP supporter.
“When I was TAP board chair, I was always so amazed how various TAP programs positively affected so many people. There were so many success stories that were shared each month,” he explains. “Whether it was the former Head Start student that now is a college graduate with a good job, the domestic violence victim that had a place to turn for help, or the individuals saved from homelessness, TAP has a way of effectively addressing real issues facing our citizens and community. Over the years, TAP’s efforts to assist so many have multiplied many times and the success stories continue to build.”
Contributing to a Vibrant Community
As executive vice president and division leader of Marsh & McLennan Agency, Eddie encouraged his company to become involved as well. They have been a proud TAP supporter for the past several years. This year Marsh & McLennan is an Empower-level sponsor for our Bringing Hope Home annual fundraising campaign. “We see firsthand the impact TAP has on so many in our community,” he says. “From the very young to the elderly, TAP has a program that lifts people up and prepares them for success.”
They don’t stop at financial support. Marsh & McLennan staff make an effort to get involved in other ways as well. This year they hosted TAP Head Start students for trick-or-treating at their offices. “All of these efforts support our philosophy that a healthy, vibrant community is important to all of us. I am proud to work for a company that believes part of its mission is giving back to the communities it serves,” Eddie says.
When it comes to the community he holds dear, Eddie Smith doesn’t take a backseat—he takes action. “I think it is incumbent not only upon leaders but also upon all of us to be engaged in providing support and opportunities that positively impact our communities,” he says. “The health of our communities is dependent upon our ongoing support of our non-profits like TAP and those in need.”
We are proud to share with you some bright moments and encouraging stories from the past year. Please peruse our 2021–2022 Annual Report. Be inspired by the good work you are helping to make possible right here in your backyard by supporting TAP.
Words from TAP clients
“If not for AACCI, I would not have learned how to meditate. Now I use meditation any time I am feeling stressed.”
“Our biggest goal is to show students that there is something beyond the zip code they live in.”
“We’ve had more families that have been able to go to work and have an income.”
These are the words of a few TAP clients, staff, and partners who are featured in our most recent annual report. The report details how TAP provided opportunities for our neighbors—and yours—to overcome obstacles in their lives and achieve their vision of success.
TAP’s Annual Report highlights the work we do in the community
At the heart of our work is the goal to help people get out of and stay out of poverty. And we do it by creating opportunities through our more than 20 programs in the areas of education, employment, affordable housing, and creating safe and healthy environments for families. The TAP annual report provides a glimpse into these programs and the life-changing results they helped nearly 5,000 people in our community achieve over the past year.
Please enjoy the inspiring stories of the changes two of our programs have made in the lives of individuals and the communities they live in. Through a partnership with TAP Head Start, the Craig County Child Care Center expanded and improved services for families. With the help of AACCI and Project Discovery, local student Ireland found her confidence and the desire to attend college.
None of this is possible without your support
While we celebrate their stories, we are also mindful that their victories didn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes all of us working together to support the work of community action. Thank you for your support.
How Jessi and Charles Make a Difference
At times, it can feel impossible to make a difference in your own life. And it can often feel even harder to change someone else’s life. Jessi and Charles St. Clair are a great example of how big a difference we can make. They show a little hope and a lot of determination can start a chain reaction.
When talking to them, it doesn’t take long to understand that their support of TAP comes from somewhere deep. Having struggled and succeeded in their own lives means they know what’s at stake. When they talk about giving, isn’t a performance or a gesture toward what they think they ought to be doing. They see supporting TAP’s programs as a chance to invest in part of an even bigger system of supports that makes a huge difference. Charles and Jessi know firsthand the good that comes from believing in people and investing in communities. At TAP, we know we’re very lucky to be their partners in community change.
WALKING THE WALK
TAP exists because people from southwest Virginia cared about making life better—for themselves and their neighbors. The interconnected nature of a small region like ours wasn’t lost on Cabell Brand. He founded TAP in 1965 believing that the fates of both affluent people and those struggling were not merely intertwined, but separated by fewer degrees than often suggested.
In short, Cabell saw that it’s our duty as citizens to fight for the opportunities our less fortunate brothers and sisters deserve. Jessi and Charles are two supporters who don’t just believe this idea, they act on it.
BEING THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
Before Jessi and Charles opened their own business, Affordable and Dependable Auto Services, Jessi worked at ARCH Services advocating for unhoused people. She took on that work with particular passion and dedication she attributes to the fact that she has experienced homelessness herself. “I’m passionate because of living it,” she says.
During her time as an advocate, Jessi learned that it’s common for people to lament the problems they see—whether it’s rising crime, homelessness, or even just a sense of hopelessness. It is a little less common for people to support the organizations working to solve them. She shakes her head as she says, “Lots of times those organizations don’t get all the attention—but they always have a need.”
Like Jessi, Charles also experienced homelessness. He worked hard to get where he is, and he’s every bit as candid about his experience as you would expect a good mechanic to be. He’s quick to emphasize that it’s a system that—like an engine—takes serious input and energy to work. Now with a successful business, he and Jessi want to contribute to the system that helped them turn things around. As Charles puts it, “The system has given me a lot. So, when I can take some kind of action…it feels good to give back.”
ROLLING UP THEIR SLEEVES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
When asked why they chose to support TAP, Charles is quick to answer. He says, “It’s such a wide-ranging organization—whether it’s helping with school supplies, domestic violence, homelessness, people re-entering society from incarceration.” Jessi and Charles know what it takes to bounce back from a setback. They know the guts a person needs to look failure in the eye and come back stronger. They also know that a little help can make all the difference.
Listening to them speak about the hope and determination they feel when doing their part to make a difference isn’t just inspiring to us here at TAP. It’s the lifeblood of what we do. Whenever the world feels exhausting and overwhelming, a talk with Jessi and Charles is exactly what the doctor ordered. They’re as clear-eyed as any about how big the need is out there, and how it feels when you’re struggling. And they’re ready to be the change they want to see in their community.
At TAP, we’re not just honored to have their support. We’re inspired by it. Folks like Jessi and Charles are a source of hope and determination to us here at TAP. They challenge us in the best possible way to live up to our mission.
Abby Verdillo Hamilton: 2022 Cabell Brand Hope Award Recipient
We are happy to announce that Abby Verdillo Hamilton, CEO of United Way Roanoke Valley, is the recipient of the 2022 Cabell Brand Hope Award!
Abby was born in the Philippines, and it is there that she developed her love for community service. In 2002 she began her career with the United Way of Roanoke Valley, where her leadership helped to make it one of the community’s cornerstone nonprofits. As she puts it, “Our role has always been about elevating the lives of people. We improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of people.” Abby was promoted to CEO in 2020, and is one of a handful of Asian United Way CEOs in the national United Way network.
Spirit of Collaboration
Abby has spent close to 15 years building and growing various collaborations. Her leadership style and inclination for engaging diverse audiences and collaborating with others have driven the development and growth of local and regional partnerships to improve outcomes in our community’s most pressing challenges. Among these are: Ready Regions West (formerly Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke); Bank On Roanoke Valley; and Healthy Roanoke Valley.
It is this same collaborative spirit that led Abby to initiate bi-weekly virtual COVID Response Meetings that brought together as many as 150 people during the height of the pandemic. These efforts helped with the coordination among local governments, health departments, and nonprofits to meet the most immediate needs of families during the crisis. She also actively assisted in the sourcing and local distribution of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to neighborhoods hardest hit by pandemic, and was among the first community volunteers at the local mass vaccination clinics.
Expert in the Field
Given her experience, Abby is often asked to serve on the core teams for state-funded pilots and learning cohorts to explore innovative strategies to address our community’s needs. She has worked with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to help inform the design and replication of Virginia’s mixed delivery preschool program, quality rating and improvement system, early childhood data sharing systems, and coordinated preschool enrollment. She is also part of the Ready Regions Strategic Leadership Cohort, a statewide regional network of thought leaders working to increase knowledge about the value of the early childhood system to Virginia’s workforce, economy, and prosperity.
Abby was selected by fellow United Way CEOs to represent network membership in the United Way Worldwide Operating Model and Culture Task Force, which works closely with the UWW Board of Directors and Executive leadership team. In May 2022, she received the Roanoke NAACP Citizen of the Year – Humanitarian of the Year Award in recognition of her many contributions to the Roanoke Valley and beyond.
Abby has a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of the Philippines, masters in nonprofit management from Regis University in Colorado, and a certificate in leadership from the Hollins University – Batten Leadership Institute.