Serve more applicants at workshops with fewer volunteers: Have citizenship students help their classmates complete their application, DIY-style

from NALEO Houston | 4/1/2015

A NAC member in Houston, NALEO Educational Fund, implemented a recent innovative workshop strategy that allowed them to complete 83 total applications (including derivatives) with only a few outside volunteers. During a small workshop of citizenship students held in a church, NALEO staff used a do-it-yourself (DIY) process, where most applicants completed their own applications simultaneously, and then assisted fellow students who needed individualized help.

During the workshop, NALEO staff and volunteers walked applicants through each question on the application as PowerPoint slides. The students completed their own applications during the presentation, with help from one attorney who answered any questions from individual applicants. After they had finished the process, the same students assisted the small number of students who required extra support. By using applicants as volunteer form-fillers in this way, the group was able to extend their capacity and complete more applications.

NALEO learned that this approach requires a larger number of attorneys at the end of the workshop, when all applicants simultaneously finish their applications. They suggest that groups who plan to implement this approach schedule legal support accordingly.

For any questions, contact Claudia Ortega-Hogue, Texas Director of Civic Engagement, NALEO Educational Fund, chogue@naleo.org