Seven advanced Spanish students and one faculty member spent a day in service as interpreters as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Students had the opportunity to use their language skills in an authentic context while also providing an important service to the community.

During the event, students greeted clients, assessed individual language needs, made copies of necessary forms, and provided general customer service. Students also helped translate information from tax forms that were not readily available in Spanish. The event was well-attended by community members, with many residents waiting in line several hours for the free service.

USD participants included Michael Doering, Good Thunder, Minn.; Katie Klaassen, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Kelsey McCann, Sioux City, Iowa; Uver Rodriguez, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Daniel Shugar-Garza, Woodland Hills, Calif.; Jesse Van Maanen, Yankton, S.D.; Alyssa Wendt, Spearfish, S.D.; and USD Professor and Department Chair of Languages and Linguistics Laura Vidler.

The day of service is part of a course-embedded service-learning project co-sponsored by the Center for Academic & Global Engagement and the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics. In preparation for the event, students participated in an informational session about service-learning, learned more about the community partner they would be working with, and studied tax-related vocabulary in order to be prepared to serve the needs of the community members they would serve.

Download a photo of Doering, Shugar-Garza and Wendt.

About the Mary J. Treglia Community House

Since 1921, the Community House has worked to help families achieve self-sufficiency, and helped children learn to succeed in school and in life.

About the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics

Learning another language is more than a vocabulary list and pronunciation key. It's learning to speak, listen, read and write, and it's also learning to understand another culture. No matter what career path you choose – education, business, government, healthcare or another – proficiency in more than one language and knowledge of other cultures can give you a powerful advantage in today's multicultural world. For information about the program, please contact

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