“I became a US citizen just two days after I
started to work for LI3. I also voted for the first time in the last
election. It was such a great feeling!” Alejandra Harguth
Against a backdrop of changing demographics common to Colorado and
other new destination states, civic and government leaders in Littleton
decided to address head-on the changes in their community brought about
by immigration. In 2005, these leaders launched a bridge-building
initiative to foster closer ties between native-born residents and
encourage civic engagement and greater cultural understanding, and
connect immigrants with services that could bolster their professional,
educational, and health outcomes.
The Littleton Immigrant Integration
Initiative (LI3) includes a one-on-one citizenship mentoring program
believed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services to be unique and
through which nearly all students pass their citizenship exam.
to create a coordinated cross-agency response, the LI3 initiative also
operates an innovative One-Stop Information Center housed at a local
public library that assists immigrants on topics ranging from jobs,
education, health and dental care, transportation, banking, and housing.
Littleton exemplifies a thoughtful, smart
approach to engage the community proactively to understand and
address the changing demographics in a new destination state,
stressing the values of inclusiveness, civic engagement, and
two-way education and cultural enrichment. Part of what makes
this initiative so special is that it is the result of a dialogue
initiated by a range of leaders in the community, from civic
life and government, and that its execution relies not just on
government but on community volunteers.
This unique one-on-one citizenship mentoring program matches
community volunteers with
immigrants studying for their citizenship exams, resulting in
a nearly perfect pass rate and improved mutual cultural understanding.
Littleton is an excellent example of a local government initiative
that cuts across a wide range of government agencies and community
programs, showcasing the important and strategic role that local
governments can play in coordinating integration efforts.
About Doug Clark,
Mayor of Littleton
Clark was first elected to the Littleton City Council in 1995 for a
four-year term. He was Littleton's representative to the Denver Regional
Council of Governments from 1997 to 1999. Clark chose not to seek re-election
at the end of his term in order to spend more time with his family.
He was re-elected in 2005 to a two-year at-large term and again in
2007 to a four-year at-large term. In November 2007, he was elected
by his City Council peers to serve a two-year term as Littleton's mayor.
In this capacity, he represents Littleton at the Metro Mayors' Caucus,
a cooperative alliance of the mayors of 37 cities and towns in the
Denver metropolitan region. A computer consultant, he has lived in
Colorado for 23 years.
About Alejandra Harguth,
LI3 Program Coordinator
Alejandra Harguth has been the Immigrant Information Coordinator for
the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative (LI3) since November
2006. She helps immigrants integrate into the community at the One-Stop
Information Center, located at the Bemis Public Library in Littleton.
to working for LI3, she worked for a law firm overseeing
the human resource and accounting department.
Her family migrated to the United States from Mexico in the early
1980s; Ms. Harguth became a US citizen in fall 2006, two days after
beginning her work at LI3.
Ms. Harguth has been recognized internationally, nationally, and locally
for LI3's unique programs. She has received the 2008 "A Hero Makes
a Difference" award from the Rotary Club of Littleton and the 2009
Martin Luther King "Distinguished Service Award" from Arapahoe Community
College and the City of Littleton.