Kansas City Public Library
Contact Name: Courtney Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Initiative: Tenets of Democracy
The Kansas City Public Library is now offering free Citizenship Classes for those members of our community who are on the path to citizenship, through our Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment department.
The Library offered the first round of classes in late Summer/Fall 2016, and began the second round of classes in late January 2017. The classes run for 12 weeks, geared towards those with above-average English skills. Instructors teach the requisite U.S. history/civics class knowledge (the infamous “100 Questions”), and conduct mock interviews – something students cannot really do on their own. There are no formal quizzes or tests, but there are periodic assessments so the student can gauge how well they’re doing. The classes also contain volunteer mentors who can help students one-on-one as the instructor teaches the rest of the class.
This class is built to teach the tenets of democracy and to crate civic engagement literally by creating new citizens. The intended outcome is also to build community and a civil society. We create bonds of fellowship among people from different backgrounds who might feel overwhelmed being in a different country and starting over. We help students understand how government works as they work to become a U.S. citizen. We work directly with them in an intimate environment (no more than 10 students per class), and we do not ask for any form of ID or documentation. The path to citizenship is a minimum 3-year process and most of our students are somewhere in the middle of that, but one woman from the Fall classes has her interview with government officials scheduled for March.