Friday, September 25, 2009

Immigration, Naturalization & Service Learning

In an innovative project from Indiana, high school students partnered with the International Center of Indianapolis (ICI) to teach the process of naturalization to middle school students.  The students used a tool from ICI called, “"Indiana: Your Passport 2 a Global Connection," This fantastic short booklet highlights the stories and cultures of diverse groups in the Indiana community.  It also helps students reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship while helping them understand the process of naturalization.


This tool and process could be a great way to kick off service-learning projects related to issues of naturalization and immigration.



               What are the challenges associated with legal and illegal immigration?

               What role have immigrants played in US History?

               What are the needs of various immigrant groups in your community?

               Are there challenges in your community that require input from a diverse range of participants

               How can students help overcome barriers between different cultural groups to create a stronger community?

               Could students at your school produce a tool similar to the Indiana Passport to highlight different groups in your community?


In a similar project, students in a World History class in Fremont studied the push pull factors of migration, interviewed different immigrant groups in town to collect oral histories and discover needs of the immigrant groups.  Students working in small teams engaged in service-learning projects to address those needs.  In one example, students learned that a woman was having a difficult time finding a Catholic Mass in her native language, so the students produced a multi-lingual guide to religious organizations in town.  Another group worked with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance  (VITA) to provide translation services for recent immigrants who needed help with their taxes.


Nate Ivy, Service Learning Regional Lead

(Original posting from Kerri Davis, Service-Learning Coordinator, Indianapolis pasted below)



In 2008 one of our high school GT History/English classes also sought to address immigration and naturalization due in part to a rise in various ethnic groups, including a large Chin refugee population.  In short, the class partnered with the International Center of Indianapolis (ICI) to become instructors of ICI's citizenship course   to explain the naturalization process in more detail to middle school students.  The students took it a step farther and decided to gather the stories of local immigrants and publish their own book.  The book "Stirring the Melting Pot" has received much attention in our area and has helped to ease the tension in our ever-expanding, diverse community.  The book and project are considered a Best Practice by Learn and Serve Indiana/IDOE.


In service,


Kerri Davis


Service Learning Coordinator

MSD of Perry Township

401 West Meridian School Road

Indianapolis, IN 46217



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About Me

The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.