During weekly meetings, participants (called Circle Leaders) and volunteers come together to enjoy a family style meal, build relationships, and participate in curriculum modules. Hundreds of volunteers work with our two staff members to execute a comprehensive weekly educational program for adults and children, including dinner and childcare provided to our participants at no charge.
Circle Leaders learn strategies from mentors, called Allies, who have proven success in various aspects of their lives and career. These relationships are the foundation of the success of Circles. Allies do not do any of the work for Circle Leaders, they simply walk alongside Circle Leaders to support, encourage and celebrate with them as they walk the journey out of poverty together. These meaningful relationships often turn into life-long friendships as both Circle Leaders and Allies learn more about themselves and gain a new perspective of the world they may not have had before.
Many of the children who attend Circles weekly meetings live in single-parent households and all live in poverty when they start participating in Circles. Through Circles, we strive to empower at-risk youth to overcome barriers to opportunity. Lessons from specifically developed curriculum for Circles children are delivered each week. These lessons include: building healthy relationships, bullying, emotional health, financial literacy, diet, fitness, integrity, mindfulness, self-esteem, goal setting and volunteerism.
Parents attending Circles classes are learning essential life skills they didn’t learn from their parents. As they learn these skills and develop relationships with other community members from across all socio-economic backgrounds, their behavior and attitudes change. The result is a multigenerational transformation within the household.
Said best in their own words, “mom and dad are happier,” “we got a better house,” “we’ve changed the way we shop for groceries,” “we have a safer car,” and “we have milk in the refrigerator” are just some of the stories we hear from the children. Families are walking the journey out of poverty together and children are learning methods of life management which will change their future.
- 85 Circle Leader graduates to date
- 74% average increase in household earned income
- 71% have developed savings
- 19% have graduated from or are attending college or technical school
- More full-time employment, better jobs and promotion to management positions
- 33% have reached 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- 100% have secure housing
- 50% own their home
- 100% have reliable transportation
- 100% have a network of friends and Allies who support, encourage, and celebrate with them
- Families are being reconnected