Circles Washington County, MD
Circles is a comprehensive poverty alleviation initiative aimed at empowering community members to pull themselves and their families out of poverty while also working to remove barriers that keep others in poverty. Through intentional relationships and building social capital, Circles participants, called “Leaders”, receive mentorship and support toward achieving their personalized goals.
Check out this video below to learn more about Circles
THE CIRCLES MISSION:
- Help families get out of poverty
- Remove the barriers that keep people in poverty
CIRCLE LEADER – Circle participants are called Circle Leaders. They are committed to LEADING themselves out of poverty
ALLY – A volunteer who assists the Circle Leader in achieving their goals to leave poverty behind. An intentional friend. An ally’s job is to listen, ask questions, and make suggestions.
1 Family: WHO WANTS OUT OF POVERTY
People come to Circles wanting a better future for their family. They may not know how to make it happen, but they are willing to work hard to achieve it. A great amount of time is spent during the beginning of their Circles’ journey creating a safe place where families can create a future story, do an assessment of what it will take to get there, and then set their own goals. They are CIRCLE LEADERS.
2 Allies: COMMITTED VOLUNTEERS WHO WILL WALK ALONGSIDE THE FAMILY
Once a family has created their own future story, we match them with 2 Allies. Allies are community volunteers who will walk alongside the family. This is about being, not doing. About sharing, helping someone process new information, and providing emotional support. It is also about getting a better understanding of the barriers that keep people in poverty.
And A Community of Support: WHO ARE COMMITTED TO CREATING CHANGE
Circles is about helping families on the micro level and creating community solutions and changing systems on the macro level. It is about taking what we are learning…and then, as a Circles Community, doing something with what families are experiencing so we can create a path out of poverty for all families.
CIRCLES MEETINGS OCCUR WEEKLY – Every Thursday at St. John’s Episcopal Church on South Prospect Street from 6-8 pm
- Transportation is provided for Circle Leaders and their family if needed
- Dinner is served at 6 pm. All Circle Leaders and their families, along with the volunteers, are invited to dinner.
• 6:45 – 8 pm → Circle Leaders, alongside their Allies, work on their plans while the children take part in structured Children’s Programming
MONTHLY CIRCLES SCHEDULE – following 12 sessions of Circle Leader training:
• 1ST Thursday of the month – Matched Circles Meeting (Circle Leaders & Allies meet to work on their plans)
• 2nd Thursday of the month – Special Guests, Speakers, & Programming
• 3rd Thursday of the month – Matched Circles Meeting (Circle Leaders & Allies meet to work on their plans)
• 4th Thursday of the month – Big View Meeting
HOW YOU CAN HELP…
Allies - Committed volunteers who will walk alongside the Circle Leaders
Meals - Volunteers to donate food, prep, serve, and clean up the weekly meal
Hospitality - Create a welcoming atmosphere for leaders and volunteers each week by greeting, signing in, setting up, and tearing down for each weekly meeting
Transportation - Bring leaders and their families to and from meetings
Big View Team – Community members representing local government, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to participate in monthly discussions with the Circle Leaders about barriers in our community
Circles Washington County, MD
Phone: 301-797-4161 Ext. 303
Kimberly Buchanan, Director – Ext. 137
Elizabeth Howe, Coordinator – Ext. 126
Marcia Corea, Coordinator – Ext. 142