AARP, Ventura County offer free tax preparation to residents

With the federal government reopening as of Friday, Jan. 25, it’s time to start filing your taxes, and the AARP Foundation, along with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging are here to help.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 4, anyone of low to moderate income will be able to take advantage of a free tax preparation service.

To receive assistance, individuals must bring all necessary documentation, including applicable Social Security cards, a photo ID, a copy of 2017 tax returns and 2018 documents showing income from all sources including wages, Social Security, interest, dividends, investments, self-employment and pensions.

The service, particularly suited to those over 50 years of age, will be held Mondays through Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. through April 15 at the VCAAA offices, 646 County Square Drive in Ventura. No appointment required. For more information, call 805-477-7306.

Moorpark College to host cybersecurity contest

Moorpark College has been named one of 12 sites to host the 2019 California Mayors Cyber Cup, a contest pitting middle and high school students against each other in various cybersecurity-themed challenges.

The event, taking place on Saturday, Feb. 23, will feature 200 teams with over 1,200 students in an effort to encourage students entering the cybersecurity workforce.

“We are proud to host this year’s CMCC regional competition,” said Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez. “This is a great opportunity for local high school students to learn about the outstanding cybersecurity and technology programs Moorpark College offers as well as the promising careers available in this growing field.”

Teams have until Saturday, Feb. 2, to register, which will give them and their coaches access to tools and practice sessions.

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, chair of the Select Committee on Cybersecurity, will deliver a briefing and welcome students.

For more information, visit ca-cyberhub.org.

Tipper Gore founding donor of scholarship at CSUCI

The former U.S Second Lady Tipper Gore has become the founding donor for California State University Channel Island’s latest scholarship award focused on supporting ambassadors of the peer mentor program.

CSUCI’s Peer Education and Equity Program provides peer mentors and ambassadors who assist students who need help, whether academically or mentally.

“It’s another person in a closer age bracket so they can identify more,” said Gore. “A teacher or older person might be able to dispense advice and guidance, but when that guidance comes from someone close to their age with some experience under their belts, it’s more meaningful.”

The award will provide $3,500 a semester to selected peers who will mentor as well as take on responsibilities such as advocating for the program.

For more information and to support the program, visit www.csuci.edu/giving.

Ventura Family YMCA kicks off fundraiser

The Ventura Family YMCA has launched its annual campaign, an effort to raise funds for programs that monthly subscription fees do not cover.

Programs such as LIVESTRONG and Third Grade Learn to Swim are funded solely through donations. Annual Campaign Chair Pattie Braga, referring to the Third Grade Learn to Swim program, says that “everyone in a beachside city should know how to swim.”

“The Ventura Family YMCA saves lives with our Third Grade Learn to Swim program by providing free swim lessons to any third grader who has not learned how to swim,” said Braga. “It costs so little to make a huge impact.”

For more information about the Ventura Family YMCA and to learn how to donate, visit www.ciymca.org/ventura.