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Bar News - October 14, 2011


Civics in Action is on the Move

ĎAmbassadorsí Wanted
†for Civics in Action

Interested in presenting the Civics in Action program? An Oct. 24 training is almost booked up, but some space may still be available. Additional trainings may also be scheduled.

Ambassadors, as those presenting the Civics in Action programs are called to attend a brief training and must study the civics test materials to adequately present and discuss the program with groups.

Ambassadors also agree to contact and individually arrange their presentations to Rotary Clubs around the state. At the training, the ambassadors may select Rotary Clubs convenient to their office or home. Nearly all Rotary Clubs meet during weekdays, typically at breakfast or lunch. The guest speaker portion of each meeting is strictly limited, and the training is designed to help the ambassadors make a crisp, informative and interactive presentation.

Contact Robin E. Knippers at the Bar Center for more information.

Civics in Action is on the move around NH. This new civics education initiative of the NH Bar Foundation and Bar Association started with a well-received presentation on Sept. 13 at The Rotary Club of Concord. Dates are being lined up for presentations by Bar members at two dozen other Rotary Clubs around the state in the next few months.

NHBA President Jennifer L. Parent, who has spearheaded the effort with the assistance of Mary Susan Leahy, a NH Bar Foundation board member, engaged approximately 80 members of The Rotary Club of Concord in a dialogue about the structure of the US government as set forth by the US Constitution, and other topics covered in the civics test administered to immigrants desiring to become citizens.

The goal of the program is to spark conversation and heighten awareness of the importance of knowledge of civics for an informed population and a responsible citizenry. Flash cards, half with questions and half with answers, were distributed around the room. Audience members posed the questions and members of the audience volunteered the answers. Most of the questions were easily addressed, while others required a little more thought before an answer emerged.

All of the questions in the presentation are taken from the civics test that all would-be citizens must pass before they are naturalized. Immigrants must study a 100-question test and be prepared to correctly answer (verbally, in English) at least 6 of the ten selected questions posed to them by an examiner.

"Eye-opening," was the reaction of several Rotary members when asked their opinion of the program. Civics in Action definitely appeared to succeed in sparking further dialogue as several Rotarians, clutching the question sheets handed out, informed Parent that they would not be able to resist posing the same questions to family or co-workers.

The Bar Foundation and Bar Association, to generate and sustain momentum for the program, have set a goal of presenting the "Can You Pass This Test?" program of Civics in Action before every Rotary Club in the Granite State (56 of them) by Law Day on May 1, 2012.

"Civics In Action is an interactive and entertaining way to get civics back into our everyday conversations as adults," said Parent. "Understanding our government and the principle values of the US Constitution and our justice system are fundamental to maintaining a strong democracy."

The Bar Foundation is providing funding for materials for the project, with staff support provided by NHBA Law Related Education Coordinator Robin E. Knippers.

For more information about Civics in Action, visit www.nhbar.org.

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