Friday, July 20, 2007


On Saturday, July 14, 2007, Nuestra Señora de las Americas and Church of the Advent co-hosted the most recent Citizenship Workshop organized by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association in collaboration with Erie Neighborhood House, the American Polish Association, West Town Leadership United and other community organizations. Approximately 105 persons from the Hispanic, Polish, African and Asian communities took advantage of the Workshop where fifty trained volunteers helped the aspiring citizens determine their eligibility and complete the complicated application. The Workshop was the last opportunity for those attending to apply for citizenship before the registration fee increased by $250.00 at the end of the month – a significant increase for low income families.

“At 6:00 a.m., there were already half a dozen people waiting” said the Rev. Sandra Castillo, “and by 8:00 a.m., there was a line around the corner.” Advent's senior warden, John Medenwald, greeted the applicants and volunteers as they arrived and helped direct traffic. Advent parishioner, Idida Perez and Nuestra Senora member, Elena Hernandez, helped people complete applications. Organizers arrived at 7:00 a.m. to set up the stations. The doors opened at 9:00 a.m. and the volunteers continued working until 1:00 p.m. Marcelo Ferrer, LSNA Immigration Organizer said, “The people really felt welcome and supported here. That makes a big difference.” The entire building was utilized. Volunteer lawyers did screening and trained volunteers helped people complete applications in the basement. People waited in the quiet tranquility of the church nave. Free passport photographs and the final review station were located in the choir room and the rector's office became the volunteer lounge. Nuestra Señora de las Americas and the Church of the Advent especially thank St. John Episcopal Church and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church for their help in making the Citizenship Workshop possible.