Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ Citizenship Program Manager, Tracy (Fuller) Forbush, was this year’s recipient of the 10 th Annual Making Democracy Work Award. Presented by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County (LWVJoCo), the award celebrates outstanding leaders who help make local government strong, vibrant, fair and responsive to the needs of all members of the community.

Two years ago, Tracy began developing and implementing Catholic Charities’ Citizenship Preparation Program for immigrants and refugees. Since then, she has helped over 100 of her students successfully pass the naturalization test and obtain U.S. citizenship. Wanting to take it a step further, she reached out to the LWVJoCo and asked them to provide seminars for these new citizens focused on the voting process and importance of voting.

The partnership between the two organizations has helped strengthen the program’s ability to encourage graduates to become informed and involved citizens. “I think we can all agree that our democracy is only as powerful as the people behind it,” says Tracy. “The more engaged, educated and empowered new citizens are, the better off we all are.”

Tracy added that she was surprised to have been nominated and humbled to have received the award. She says, “I’m thankful that the League of Women Voters of Johnson County recognizes the value of immigrants and refugees – empowering them and making their voices heard is what truly makes our democracy work.”

For more information on how you can help with this or other programs at Catholic Charities, visit our Volunteer page.