By Okon Ekpenyong
The Columbus Metropolitan Library on Karl Road, north side, Columbus is partnering with US Together, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for refugees and immigrants, to offer a free citizenship class for adults.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library has twenty-four branches, each offering a unique class for children and adults. Whetstone Branch, for example, provides free English as a Second Language classes in partnership with Columbus Literacy Council.
Citizenship classes last about 10-12 weeks, and they prepare students for their civil exams and interviews. Other languages are optional, but the course is in English.
USCIS grants have funded the citizenship class provided by US Together for many years, according to Layla, an immigration specialist at the US Together. The first session of Citizenship classes at the Karl Road Library located at 5590 Karl Rd in Columbus, Ohio Library started in the Spring of 2022.
The current session began on January 18, 2023, and will be the third. Between 10-12 students sign up, but in this session, they have fewer due to the winter season. US Together clients and the general public are welcome to enroll in the classes.
“Our first class of the new year started this past Wednesday, January 18, 2023, and this session will run until April 12th, 2023. One of our volunteers will be teaching the course”, Layla Banaie with US Together said.
They open the registration a month before the class begins, and New Americans are encouraged to register early. But the group says they would accept new applicants mid-session if spaces are available.
Although Layla is not teaching this current session, she has previously led the class. She is familiar with the resources provided to students to help them reach their goals of becoming US citizens. “I started teaching that citizenship class in 2015, and I know the US Together had classes before my arrival. I think it’s safe to say we have been doing citizenship education in central Ohio for at least a decade,” Layla said.
Other immigration services and nonprofit organizations, including the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio, ETSS Social Services, and Community Refugee & Immigrant Services, to name a few, are other avenues to find free citizenship classes.
Sessions are scheduled on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm to review US history, government, civics, and interview preparation.
The US Together offers other services, and they always look for interns and volunteers.
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