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.
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
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
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
Not only are we proud of them and their achievement, but we're proud of our volunteer tutors and our teacher Cheryl Nechamen. who helped them along the road to citizenship.
Those volunteers are: Riley Hart, Sally Knutson, Mary Leonard, Johanna Petersen, Joanne Tobiessen, Cindy Weissend, Connie Young.
Congratulations to all!
Ann Hatke, Mentoring Group Chair contacted the Schenectady County Clerk, John J. Woodward, and received permission for our League to set up a small table at the naturalization ceremonies that are held in Schenectady. Although voter registration forms are handed out to all new citizens by the Board of Elections, he felt that our presence would be beneficial because we can provide voting information, help filling out the forms, and speak to family members and friends who may want to register. Ann will be applying for a small grant (2018 New Citizens Voter Registration Grant) to cover the expenses for these events. The dates for the naturalization ceremonies are: March 23, May 18, June 22, July 20, August 24, September 21, October 19, and November 16. The ceremonies are usually held at the Hibernian Hall on State Street.
Providing a simple information sheet with information about applying for citizenship was discussed at the Program Planning Meeting on February 12. Many times, those who want to apply don't have the correct information, and don't know where to look for it. Ann will prepare a "fact sheet" which can be distributed at SICM, libraries, churches, and other appropriate places.
Citizenship Mentoring Group Chair
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.