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Staff Writer

TOWNSEND — Earning U.S. citizenship can be a daunting task for immigrants.

Townsend resident Shirley Coit wants local immigrants to know that there is help available in completing the process.

Coit is the coordinator of Project Family Learning Starts Here (FLASH) at the Fitchburg Public Library.

FLASH offers English as a Second Language classes during the school year, and citizenship classes offered in 10-week sessions.

The classes are free for all participants and paid for by the Fitchburg library and grants.

On July 6, a new 10-week cycle of the citizenship class will begin.

Lasting until Aug. 15, classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fitchburg Public Library. Led by instructor Eladia Romero, legislative aide to Rep. John Olver, the class examines all components of earning citizenship including the interview and application process, in a friendly setting.

“This is for people that are essentially ready to become U.S. citizens,” said Coit, who said she’s not sure how many Townsend residents would be interested, but she knows there are local immigrants who haven’t completed the citizenship process.

A few years ago a Townsend family, the Babocis, participated in Project FLASH before receiving their citizenship.

“They went through our program for both literacy and citizenship,” said Coit.

The Babocis have since been selected to receive a home in Townsend from Habitat for Humanity.

The last course cycle saw 17 people sign up, and 10 completed the program.

“We can’t guarantee citizenship,” said Coit. “But we can help with the application process.”

People interested in the course are encouraged to contact Coit at the Fitchburg library by calling (978) 345-9635 or the Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area at (978) 343-8184.

Class registrations are being accepted until the first class on June 6.

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