Lacy Lavergne serves others during tax season 

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023

For Lacy Lavergne, 35, the experience of being a volunteer is eye-opening.

“To volunteer is to understand the harsh realities of life,” she said. Compassion follows this understanding. “You develop empathy towards people who are less fortunate than you.”

She has volunteered with United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for 11 years. This program provides free tax prep to “low-to-moderate income individuals, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and limited English-speaking residents who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),” according to United Way SWLA.

Lavergne is able to volunteer her financial expertise through VITA. She currently serves as the accountant for the Calcasieu Parish School Nutrition Program.

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Originally from Sowards, La., she moved to Lake Charles in 2008 to attend McNeese State University, where she earned three bachelors degrees over 14 years: Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a Minor in Taxation, Bachelor of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources.

Her son, Liam, motivated her to start volunteering. “As a parent of a young male, I know the equivalence of an excellent education and the double standards he may face,” she explained. “My expectations are to raise him in a way that he will want to give back to his community.”

It is important to Lavergne that she leads by example, and this is a role that she embraces with pride. “It is pertinent that our children have strong role models to look up to, and I intend to be a positive face for Southwest Louisiana.”

As a part of her core beliefs, Lavergne says she lives by the bible quote “to whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48).” She is aware of her blessings, and in turn gives back to the community without expecting anything in return. “Volunteering is serving people without any selfish motives, without expectations,” says Lavergne

She has found that altruism benefits the community as a whole. “It means making the world a better place… It will help us connect with others, build community and create positive change in the world.”

This is especially true in Southwest Louisiana, she said. “Southwest Louisiana and Lake Charles will benefit from altruism as we rebuild our community.”

“Most families are still trying to recuperate from the last few years with COVID-19 and natural disasters,” Lavergne said. “By offering local help, VITA makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

Even if taxation is not your area of expertise, Lavergne urges all members of the community to take their talents or resources and volunteer. “I advise everyone to get out there. We need all hands-on deck to help rebuild our community.”

Small actions make waves. “Please keep in mind that one person cannot always do everything. Even the most minor things you do will benefit the neighborhood.”