Dear Educators, Students, Parents, and Community Members:
We are pleased to share with you both the Citizenship Counts program and the vision of our founder, Gerda Weissmann Klein. A survivor of the Holocaust, Gerda immigrated to the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1948. She treasures her citizenship and believes that in order “to perpetuate the miracle that is America, we must teach our children about its rich history as a nation of immigrants who chose this country and have given meaning to its ideals.” From this belief, Citizenship Counts was born. Gerda believes that civic education, combined with active participation in one’s community and/or in a naturalization ceremony, “helps ensure that the citizens of tomorrow will continue to foster tolerance, understanding, service to one another, and a greater appreciation for the privilege and responsibility of citizenship.”
To ensure that Gerda’s vision for an educated and engaged citizenry becomes a reality, we created the Citizenship Counts curricular program. We believe that this interactive, multidisciplinary middle/high school curriculum will not only enhance students’ academic knowledge and skills, but our program will also help them gain a true appreciation for their rights and responsibilities as citizens of this great nation. Additionally, our hope is that the students will gain a better appreciation of the differences, cultures, customs, and beliefs of those who choose to immigrate to the United States.
We strongly encourage those of you who are educators to utilize the program in its entirety, as the lessons build upon one another. However, we understand that scheduling may not always permit this. If you are unable to offer all of the lessons to your students, we suggest using at least three or four lessons, so that your students will have a strong foundation for understanding citizenship and the need for civic engagement.
We hope you that you will find our program to be a valuable resource and experience now and in the future.