Citizenship class offered at Carson City Library
For the Nevada Appeal
Over the past seven years, Ronald Roberts has helped more than 200 immigrants become U.S. citizens through the class he offers at the Carson City Library.
“I retired about 20 years ago and had a lot of free time,” he said. “I decided to do something, and this is what I did.”
He began volunteering with the English-as-a-Second-Language In-Home Program of Northern Nevada, helping non-native speakers become fluent in the English language.
When founder Florence Phillips asked him to teach a citizenship class, he readily agreed.
“I started out teaching a couple of people on a one-on-one basis in their homes,” he said.
It has now grown to three, 12-week classes every year, where he teaches anywhere from two to 30 students in each session.
The next course will begin Feb. 4 and runs 2-4 p.m. for the following 12 Saturdays.
“My students are very interested in becoming citizens of the United States,” Roberts said. “They want to do it the right way. They’re doing it the legal way.”
During the free course, students learn American and Nevada history, politics, geography and civics.
“We cover everything they need to pass the citizenship exam and the interview,” Roberts said. “If they put in the time, they will always succeed.”
He gives two practice tests and conducts a mock interview to prepare students. He also helps students fill out the 21-page application.
While the class is offered at no cost, the application for citizenship costs $680.
“They put in a lot of effort, not to mention the financial burden,” he said.
He said a majority of students come to the class after participating in the ESL program.
“Many will start taking the English-language courses,” Roberts said. “When they feel confident in with their speaking ability, they might come to my class.”
Anyone interested in taking the course can show up at the Carson City Library Digitorium at 2 p.m. Feb. 4 or call Florence Phillips of the ESL In-Home program at 775-888-2021.