On Friday and Saturday mornings, something special takes place at the Center for New Americans. As soon as the doors open, about 100 adult students show up, eager, happy, and ready to work. There are always lots of smiles and laughter, but the students come for some very serious work.
All of these students are refugees and immigrants who have lived in the United States for the past year or more, and now they want the opportunity to become citizens of this country where they have felt welcomed and secure, raised their families, paid taxes, and grown to love. These super dedicated students take time out of their lives, their work schedules, their families, to come and learn about U.S. history, U.S. civics, and U.S. geography. Students learn how to read and write English and build confidence in their listening and speaking skills. They faithfully come to Citizenship class, because they all share the hope and dream of becoming a citizen themselves…some day!
Sitting alongside these students are classroom volunteers. Just like the students they help, these volunteers set aside time out of their busy weekly schedules to make a difference. Being a volunteer is an invaluable experience. Here are a few of the benefits of being a volunteer:
- Enjoy helping others learn
- Give back to the community
- Become aware of needs in the community
- Share valuable skills and knowledge
- Learn about new cultures
- Help people understand American culture, history, and the English language
- Build bridges across cultures
- Make new friends
- Discover and build new skills and ideas
- Have an overall positive experience
What does it take to become a U.S. Citizen?
The U.S. naturalization process is an expensive and difficult process. Candidates for naturalization need to undergo and pass an intensive interview in English.
Candidates must then undergo an oral examination on U.S. history and government where they must listen to and correctly answer six out of ten questions that are randomly chosen from 100 possible civics, history, and geography questions. Would you pass? The USCIS has an online practice test: https://my.uscis.gov/prep/test/civics
Finally candidates are required to demonstrate their English reading and writing ability. Candidates must pass all three exams before being recommended for citizenship (naturalization).
Want to be a citizenship classroom volunteer?
Need free citizenship classes?
You can receive free citizenship classes if you bring your green card. Call 731-2000 to schedule an enrollment appointment for the next class session.
Want help filling out the “citizenship application” or N-400?
Call 731-2000 to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney for reduced or free rates.
Want to know more about the process of becoming a citizen?
Visit the USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/ for details.
Written by Heather Glidewell