A Rewarding Experiencelhecht | February 15, 2011
Last Friday, two other Haverford students and I went into Philly to volunteer with the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), helping newly naturalized citizens register to vote. First, we went to their office for a quick training with one of their employees. We had to learn how to quickly spot errors on the registration form. After the training, we walked over to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office, where the naturalization ceremonies were taking place. We got there about 30 minutes early to help set up the registration forms, but when we walked in the room there were already about 100 people checking in before the ceremony even began! There were many families there as well. Another PICC volunteer, Rachel, came to help us out. Even though Rachel just moved to Philly, she had already volunteered there before, so she helped us get the hang of things. The ceremony began on time, and while it was only about 30 minutes long, it was amazing to see immigrants complete the process to be citizens. They took an oath, said the pledge of allegiance, and even watched a video of President Obama congratulating them. At the end of the ceremony, the officer announced that volunteers would be handing out voter registration forms. While some people were in a rush to leave, many chose to stay and take the time to register to vote. It was amazing to see how excited and happy people were to become citizens and take the first step in exercising their right to vote. I can’t wait to volunteer there again!