Greenspring Residents Help Employees Gain U.S. Citizenship

(Springfield, Va.) - The George Mason Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was established in October 2000 at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, Va.  Since then, resident members of the Chapter have been assisting employees at Greenspring in their pursuit to gain U.S. citizenship.  Throughout the past 13 years, nearly 50 employees at Greenspring have received citizenship tutoring services offered by the George Mason Chapter and have gone on to become U.S. citizens.  On February 25, the Chapter held a reception at Greenspring honoring some of its employees, Greenspring's George Mason Chapter offers comprehensive tutoring to prospective American citizens who work at the community on a variety of topics including a review of civics, democracy, American history, and also English language skills.  "Their supervisors have been very accommodating," said Carolyn Pledger, Greenspring resident and chair of George Mason Chapter's Americanism Committee.  Pledger, a citizenship tutor, finds great fulfillment from helping the employees.  "I find it so satisfying, and that's why I've done it for so long," said Pledger, who has been tutoring employees at the community for over ten years.  She recalls tutoring employees who have come from across the world, many of which from countries in Africa and South America. Some years ago, members of the George Mason Chapter found a way to help the employees receive financial assistance for the rising cost of the application fee for citizenship.  It now costs $680 to file an application for citizenship, which includes a $595 application fee and an $85 fingerprinting fee.  One of Greenspring's community resident volunteer groups, The Treasure Chest, offered to reimburse Greenspring employees seeking citizenship for half of the costs associated with applying.  The Treasure Chest at Greenspring, run entirely by over 125 resident volunteers, is an on-site thrift shop that accepts donations from residents and organizes the resale of items.  Proceeds from the sales go toward developing events and activities at the community, philanthropic funds at the community, and donations to the greater Springfield community.  Since 2005, the Treasure Chest has collected and donated well over half-a-million dollars to local organizations. The George Mason Chapter of the DAR now has almost 100 members; approximately two-thirds are residents at Greenspring and one-third are other area residents from outside of the community.  In 2011, the Chapter was presented with an award at the annual Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution (VADAR) state conference.  The award, given for "Dedicated Chapter Participation in Tutoring Prospective New Citizens," was presented by the chairman of the VADAR Americanism Committee to the George Mason Chapter.  "I'm very proud of the tutoring program," said Jan Madden, Greenspring resident and Regent of the George Mason Chapter. About Greenspring: Greenspring is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia.  The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of which reside in over 1400 independent living apartment-style homes.  At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  Life at Greenspring offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community.  Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.