The Cougar Volunteer Spirit is Alive and Well in Charleston

This blog is a project by public relations students at the College of Charleston. Since its inception in 2004, the Cougar Volunteer Spirit has showcased dozens of students who give of their time, effort and hearts to helping those in need. They don't do it for recognition like this, but their stories need to be shared because of their admirable qualities of character and caring. "Be the change you want to see in the world," Mahatma Ghandi said. That's the Cougar Volunteer Spirit that roars through these pages. Click on the side photos to see the articles. See photos of the students who wrote the pieces at the end. Thanks!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

BRADY SAVAGE- VITA Tax Services, CSYC Junior Sailing Camp

A Major Tax Deduction by Sailing Camp
By Reid Armstrong

Savage, teaching a youth summer camp how to sail.
Brady Savage, a Junior at the College of Charleston, has been involved in community service for most of his adult life. So after leaving his hometown of Grosse Pointe, M.I. he began looking for new organizations to continue his community services. Being in the top of his class for the accounting school, Savage was approached by VITA Tax Support to join in helping underprivileged local citizens with their annual tax needs.VITA serves to support people in their tax needs through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. 

Savage started his community service in the seventh grade by joining his mother in her Meals on Wheels routes. Savage says, "She really is the one that got me started with my community service, I went out with her one day and had a blast helping others who were less fortunate that we were."

Savage, a decorated seaman, has been giving free sailing lessons every summer since he was 14 years old. He says, " I don't even consider teaching kids how to sail a community service. I just happened to be really good at it, and good with children. The kids really make me feel better that I make them feel, and having another reason to be out on a sailboat is bliss."

About Brady Savage...

Hometown- Grosse Pointe, Mich.
Year- Junior (Graduating May 2012)
Major- Accounting 
Age- 21

What exactly do you do at your volunteer activities?
Well, for VITA, I sit down in a pre-assigned cubicle and literally walk people through their tax forms. If they are capable and willing, I show them how to do their own taxes. We also let them know that by teaching them how to do their own taxes does not mean that they are not allowed to come back next year. We encourage that they do come back and allow us to walk them through it again, or double check after what they have done. For the sailing camp I teach local kids how to sail. We teach them the values that sailing will offer them as well as the safety precautions that come with sailing. 

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer services?
When I leave, knowing that I helped somebody other than myself, it is a really good feeling. Call it being selfish, but I really enjoy feeling good about doing something for a complete stranger. 

What was your most memorable volunteer service experience?
There have been a lot of "close calls" out there sailing, but one time a kid did get knocked off his boat. I jumped in after him to make sure he was going to be ok. He was unconscious for less than a minute. All the other counselors credited me with saving his life, but I was just acting off pure instincts, and he would have been fine without my immediate assistance. It odes feel good to know that I am prepared for the worst if the real situation ever occurs. 

How have you benefited from your volunteer experiences?
Just the satisfaction of helping others is benefit enough for me. Other than that I can say that my patience level has increased greatly through both of my community service experiences. I enjoy what I do and as long as the time permits I will continue doing it. 

If one of your friends were asked to describe you, what would they say?
I hope they would describe me as somebody that likes to have fun, meet new people, and as somebody that likes to help others. I am sure they would throw in a few other characteristics, but those are the three that pretty much sum it all up. 

What would you tell somebody who was considering volunteering?
Do it, but only if you are really passionate about the service you are about to join. It doesn't matter if you are not amazing at what you are going to be helping with, you being there is help enough. This really means a lot to the people that you are helping, so you should be very passionate about helping them. 

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan on going straight to grad school. I hope to get into Michigan State. They have a really good accounting program and will surely be able to secure me a position at one of the big four accounting firms. I can't say that during grad school, but after I am sure some free tax services options will continue to be explored. 


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