STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — A church in Strongsville is offering free classes to help those looking to become United States citizens.
Our Savior Lutheran Church began offering free citizenship classes last year.
"We had a vision of just this little polite class and they'd come in and sit and we'd teach them civics and history and then suddenly we needed someone who needed application help, and then we had someone who needed mock interview help, and suddenly we were doing all of these things that we didn't know we could even do," said Karen Hasley, coordinator of the Citizenship Test Prep Program.
Since its start last year, the church has expanded the kind of help they offer for those preparing to take the citizenship test, including lessons in U.S. history, civics, spelling and grammar.
The lessons are crucial for those who need help, especially financially. The test costs $725 and is non-refundable, even if an applicant fails the test. That fee is expected to rise to more than $1,000 this year.
"That's a big chunk of cash for anybody, but for people who are working sometimes two or three jobs to get established, it's a big chunk of money," Hasley said.
The classes have already helped two students pass their tests and become U.S. citizens, giving the volunteers of the program something to feel proud about.
"We wanted to do something that we could do with our material goods and with our hearts, and when we reached out into the community, it's been so much more than we expected," Halsey said.
Classes are held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays.
To learn more about the free citizenship classes, click here.