What is Circles?
Circles® in Columbus is our community’s involvement in a proven national movement with the objective of eradicating poverty in America. Circles USA® Initiative is a high-impact community strategy to end poverty one family at a time by building intentional personal relationships across economic classes and races.
Circles® in Columbus is a true community-wide initiative that invites direct involvement from the business community, faith community, social service community, healthcare community, education community and local government.
To learn more about the National Circles Movement check out: http://www.circlesusa.org/
How Does Circles Work?
Circles® provides a comprehensive program for people who are willing to and ready to move of poverty. In the initial 18-week Circle Leader Training Class, participants establish Goals and Future Plans and learn new tools to secure and sustain better jobs.
Once participants graduate from Circle Leader Training, they are known as Circle Leaders and are then matched with 2-4 community volunteers known as Allies. Allies offer Circle Leaders advocacy and support as they work toward their goal of economic self-sufficiency.
Circle Leaders and Allies gather at Weekly Community Meetings to provide support and network with one another. Meetings include a community meal, childcare and programming for the children and youth, community building, leadership development opportunities, and programming and activities to support the efforts of Circle Leaders moving out of poverty. At Big View Meetings, held once a month, causes of poverty, including systemic barriers, are identified and addressed.
Resource teams are groups of community volunteers who serve to support and lead the direction of Circles of Columbus.
A Circle Leader is an individual or family of low income who is interested in becoming economically self-sufficient. The Circle Leader is responsible for leading, receiving, and giving support within the Circle. The Circle Leader works with Allies to build his or her plan discussed in Getting Ahead training, which is required of each Circle Leader before being placed in a Circle.
Allies are volunteers engage in an intentional, befriending relationship with an individual or family working to become economically self-sufficient. Allies work with their Circle Leader to figure out how to accomplish his or her plan for self-sufficiency. Allies receive a three-part training to equip them in supporting Circle Leaders in their path out of poverty.
The cost for one family to go through Circle Leader Training is approximately $1,000 (there is no cost to the participant). This covers:
- Materials and supplies
- Incentives to keep families involved and provide funds for initiating change
- Meals, childcare expenses, and/or transportation to and from weekly meetings
Volunteers are needed to sponsor and/or serve meals at our Weekly Circles Community Meetings that are held on Tuesday nights for about 35 people and on Thursday nights for about 75 people.
Meetings are from 6:00 to 8:00 pm; however, meal providers are able to set up at a time that is convenient for them. There are varieties of ways you can help with food from preparing and serving the meal to financially sponsoring a meal to be catered from a local restaurant.
An essential part of the Circles® in Columbus Weekly Meetings is providing high-quality childcare for infants through teens. Volunteers are welcomed to join our Youth Development staff and help with our childcare programming.
Ad-hoc allies commit or offer a special talent or resource to the Circles Community to be called on when needed. Guest speakers and presenters are needed on a regular basis to present information that is helpful for Circle Leaders and Allies in building resources.
Contact us and we will speak to your group about Circles in Columbus.
Ask us about our Poverty Simulation Events as well!
Circles in Columbus Staff
Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CirclesInColumbus/