#teens4citizenship—February

#teens4citizenship—February

Published on Mar 3, 2016

A partnership between Hartford Public Library and Hartford Public Schools –HPL and HPS offer a variety of opportunities for immigrant teens and adults to learn more about the pathway to citizenship. Teens have the chance integrate citizenship activities into independent studies or senior capstone seminars, take field trips, conduct outreach, or volunteer with Hartford’s adult immigrant communities. Adults may take English and Citizenship classes at Hartford Library, as well as receive bilingual citizenship application assistance from the library’s BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) accredited staff.
 
For more information, please contact:
Judy Wyman Kelly, Teen Citizenship Project Coordinator, jwykelly@gmail.com  (301) 503-8035
Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Library Chief Adult Learning Officer, hnaficy@hplct.org (860) 695-6334
 
Hartford Public Library Talks Up Citizenship in Hartford Public Schools!
By Judy Wyman Kelly
Are Puerto Ricans citizens? (Yes.)  Can they vote?  (Yes.) Do children born in the U.S. receive automatic citizenship even if their parents aren’t citizens? (Yes.) These are some of the questions parents asked me when I visited the Family Resource Center at Milner School on a chilly Thursday morning in February.  My visit was a part of Hartford Public Library’s immigrant outreach  program, funded in part by a federal grant, to educate citizens and non-citizens about the benefits of citizenship and, then, how to get there!
 
Milner Family Resource Coordinator, Catherine Terry-Johnson (far left), with Milner parents and guardians.
 
Learning about online citizenship resources.
I have been talking about citizenship in Hartford Public Schools for over a year now. Last spring, I worked with immigrant teens at the three academies at Hartford High School (see Spotlight, September and October issues).  Students attended an after-school elective, incorporated citizenship into their senior capstone project, and/or volunteered with adult immigrants at Hartford Public Library’s downtown branch.
 
This year we have branched out to additional Hartford schools.  On a weekly basis, I work with immigrant teens at Hartford High, the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy, and Bulkeley High (where we have recently launched citizenship class as part of the regular school day).   Among other topics, with these teens I talk about the benefits of citizenship, the application process, and also help them study for the 100-question exam.   Immigrant teens are encouraged to learn the materials for their own personal benefit—preparing to apply for citizenship—and also as a community service.  The more they know, the more they can help the hundreds, even thousands, of other legal permanent residents living in Hartford who have yet to become citizens.
Once a week I also spend time at Hartford Public School’s “Welcome Center,” located at 960 Main Street.  Hartford families come to this Center for all sorts of reasons—to ask questions, to seek help for their child, to facilitate communication with the teachers and administrators at their child’s school, and to learn about the ins and outs of the educational system.  Now, additionally, parents and guardians can find information about Hartford Library’s citizenship services: free classes for English Language Learners, free  citizenship classes, free support with the citizenship application process (including tutoring before the interview), and help determining if you qualify for a waiver for the $680 application fee.  Please visit our website or come down to The American Place at the main branch to learn more about how we can help you!
 
This initiative is funded in part by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
 

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