For Daniel Daum, playing a role in the financial wellbeing of others seemed downright scary.

“You don’t mess with other people’s money,” said the senior business major who returned to Union for a second degree for free under the Guaranteed Education program (

But this spring he and his classmates in Corporate Tax class have been helping Lincoln’s low-income residents prepare their tax returns for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) program at the local Good Neighbor Center—a Lincoln computer center largely funded by area Seventh-day Adventist churches.

Daum remembered helping one family who had paid a tax preparer for years to only receive very small returns.

“There were so appreciative,” he said. “Their faces lit up when they saw they were getting a really good return. For some of these people who live paycheck to paycheck, that makes all the difference.”

“I hope this project gives my students confidence that they can do anything if they prepare, set their mind to it and lean on God,” said Professors Matthew Graves, who teaches the class.

Daum is thankful because Union is teaching him how to use any career to change people’s lives. “Doing other people’s taxes went from something I was terrified of to something that I was really excited about. So far it has been a lot of fun.”

Watch the video where Daniel tells the whole story at