Lecturer was a finalist for volunteer of the year

Accounting Professor Steven Wade was one of nine finalists for Catholic Charities USA’s 2003 National Volunteer of the Year Award.

Santa Clara University accounting lecturer Steven Wade was one of nine finalists for Catholic Charities USA’s 2003 National Volunteer of the Year Award.

Wade, a lecturer in the Leavey School of Business, was nominated for “helping the individuals and families participating in Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County’s financial literacy programs.”

The Santa Clara resident heads a team of student volunteers who assist hundreds of clients with their taxes. “Three years ago I asked students in my classes if they wanted to volunteer and the response was overwhelming,” Wade said.

A Catholic Charities statement said, “Many of these clients are new to the country and need assistance navigating the tax regulations. He also provides free financial literacy seminars and curriculum content for other financial programs at the agency.”

Wade also has provided tuition assistance to a refugee client to attend SCU.

Catholic Charities called Wade “an exemplary mentor and role model to his students, inspiring large numbers of his students to serve those living in poverty. He has begun a tradition of services that will continue for years to come by teaching volunteers to give of themselves and make a difference in the lives of the poor.”

Though he didn’t win the volunteer award, Wade said he was glad to be nominated. “But it is far more satisfying to see the results of the work we do when our clients get badly needed refunds,” he said. “And the students are able to exercise the spirit of compassion that the Jesuit tradition espouses. I am convinced that we cannot be competent businesspeople if we don’t have a commitment to use our skills to make our community a better place.”

As a testament to their willingness to help, the 30 or so SCU student volunteers that Wade oversees get no academic credit for their work.

Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities USA, said Wade “is truly doing God’s work, and his model of service is the key to the ability of Catholic Charities to fulfill its mission of caring for those in need.”

Diane Saign, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, called Wade’s work “significant.” “Beyond providing direct assistance, he and his students teach our clients how to break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient members of the community,” she said.

In July, Wade earned more accolades when he was selected the 2003 Volunteer of the Year by the United States Conference of Bishops.

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