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Bar News - June 15, 2012

Civics in Action Reaches Goal

Rod Dyer accepts a certificate and a lapel pin from NHBA President Jennifer Parent for his participation as a presenter for the Civics in Action initiative, a joint project of the NH Bar Association and Bar Foundation. Dyer, of the Wescott Dyer Fitzgerald & Nichols firm in the Lakes Region, was one of the most prolific presenters of the civic education activity. The program was presented to all 58 Rotary Clubs throughout NH, thanks to the generous contributions of time by 28 attorneys.
With a jubilant sense of accomplishment, two dozen attorneys who served as volunteer speakers gathered with leaders of the Bar Association and the Bar Foundation last week to toast the success of the inaugural Civics in Action program.

Civics in Action, a joint adult-education initiative of the Association and the Bar Foundation, last summer set the ambitious goal of creating an interactive program to raise awareness of the importance of civics education, recruiting and training presenters, and then lining up speaking engagements at every Rotary Club in NH – all in less than a year. The first program was held in Concord on Sept. 13, and the 58th and last presentation was made in Portsmouth on May 21.

More than 2,500 Rotarians participated in the program, which used the questions asked of immigrants seeking US citizenship through naturalization, as the starting point to raise awareness of the philosophical foundation and the structure of our government. The local Rotary organizations were chosen as a responsive audience for the first year. The group emphasizes community involvement and has a consistent meeting structure that relies on outside speakers.

Jennifer L. Parent, NHBA President, launched the program and led the trainings of 28 Bar members who served as "ambassadors" taking the program to every Rotary group in the state.

At a reception for the ambassadors held at the Bar Center last week, Parent lauded the volunteers, singling them out for recognition based on how many programs each presented, how far they traveled to do it, even how early some had to rise to present a breakfast program.

Parent also asked the ambassadors for suggestions on what Civics in Action could do as a follow-up, to build on the positive momentum and the awareness created so far by the program.

A grant from the Arthur & Esther Nighswander Justice Fund, a newly created endowment of the NH Bar Foundation, funded organizing and materials costs for the initial year of Civics in Action. "American Legacy" booklets containing the US Constitution and other essential documents of our country’s founding were distributed to every Rotarian who attended Civics in Action.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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