Making Democracy Work

Citizenship Mentoring

Citizenship Mentoring is non-partisan and aims to assist eligible permanent residents prepare for US Citizenship. Citizens participate in the democratic process by exercising their right to vote; only citizens can vote in federal, New York State, and local elections. The League of Women Voters believes in promoting the democratic process.

Citizenship Mentoring Group Report for May

Our first class of the spring session was April 17. We have six students and hope to have a few more by the second class. Since our start, last October class, six of our students became new citizens. Another student applied in January and one more is in the process of applying. Out of these eight students, six were tutored in addition to attending the classes. They all appreciated the encouragement of their tutors.

The Citizenship Mentoring Group recently received a 2018 New Citizens Voter Registration Grant which was offered by the national League of Women Voters. This grant will help us continue to supply books and materials free of charge to our students, and we will now also be attending all of our local Naturalization Ceremonies. We will help new citizens fill out voter registration forms, talk about the voting process, keep in touch so we can send reminders about voting and election information, and give them small flags to celebrate their citizenship.

This also opens a new and inspiring way to volunteer with the Citizenship Mentoring Group. We will usually need at least 4 volunteers for every ceremony. The dates of the ceremonies are: May 1, May 18, June 22, July 20, August 24, September 21, October 19, and November 16. All of the ceremonies (with the exception of May 1) will be held at the Hibernian Hall on State Street and volunteers would need to be there by 8:30 am. The ceremonies are usually over by 10:30. The May 1 ceremony also celebrates Law Day and will be held in Schenectady City Hall. If you are interested and know which date(s) you'd like to participate, please let me know! Ann Hatke, Citizenship Chair (518-346-1584)

Announcing the next Citizen Mentoring Group session of classes!

Announcing the next Citizen Mentoring Group session of classes!

The classes will be held every Tuesday for 10 weeks starting April 17 and continuing through June 19 from 5 to 7 PM. We will be assisting eligible permanent residents prepare for US Citizenship. The location will again be at the Phyllis Bornt Library - 948 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12307

The classes are free and open to all, but you do have to register for the classes.

You can register at the Phyllis Bornt Library, registration dates are:

Wednesday, April 11 from 6:00-7:30 pm

Saturday, April 14 from 1:00-3:00 pm

Citizenship Mentoring Group Report for April

Our winter session citizenship classes ended March 20 and the spring session will begin April 17-June 19. We had a small but devoted group of students this time, and they responded well to Cheryl Nechamen's excellent teaching. We're currently looking into the possibility of a summer session, and hope we're able to get that up and running with Ann Hatke taking a turn at teaching.

John Woodward, Schenectady County Clerk, has agreed to have our League attend all the local Naturalization Ceremonies. Although the Board of Elections does hand out voter registration forms at these events, he felt that League members could help the new citizens fill out their forms and talk with them about the voting process. We would also be present to assist friends and family members who might be interested in registering to vote. Thanks to Ann's application, our League has won a LWVUS 2018 New Citizen Voter Registration Grant for $900 to cover our expenses at the ceremonies.

SICM (Schenectady-Inner City Mission)has invited the League to co-sponsor a citizenship forum with them. This would be an occasion to further educate the community and especially provide information for those who are thinking about applying. We've also been invited to meet occasionally with interested people at the SICM Food Pantry to talk with them about citizenship. Ann gave a short presentation about the Citizenship Mentoring Group at the SICM Assembly Meeting in early March and distributed information and posters about our program to the members there.

A two-page information sheet about the citizenship requirements and process has been prepared and distributed at SICM and local libraries. This was an idea that was suggested by Marsha Mortimore at the LWVSC Planning Meeting in February.

Ann Hatke, Coordinator, Citizenship Mentoring Group

Citizenship Mentoring

We are so excited to have the opportunity to serve our community by providing citizenship preparation classes. It all started when Martha Butler, Director of the Office for New Americans (ONA) in Albany, recently met with interested league members and talked about the difficulties faced by many legal residents who wish to become U.S. citizens.

In typical league fashion, we felt there was no reason why we, as the Schenectady LWV, couldn't take action, and so the Citizenship Mentoring Group was formed! We organized a core group to study the area of the greatest need, what we can reasonably offer with the limited resources we have, and how to actually provide the service. We do not have any outside sources of income; these classes are solely funded by the Schenectady LWV. Thanks to the Schenectady County Public Library system, we were able to obtain the use of a room at the Bornt Library, 948 State Street. This location is easily accessible for anyone interested in taking advantage of our classes which will focus on helping eligible residents prepare for the naturalization interview and test. We are planning on holding weekly classes for an 8 to 10 week period starting in October. Dates will be announced later.

If you are interested in learning more about citizenship through naturalization, there are ample resources and information on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website:. There is even a sample USCIS Naturalization and Test Video which explains the process.