Circles of Support
CIRCLES™ IS AN INOVATIVE MODEL based on a body of research suggesting that in order for families with low income to improve their situation, they must have bonding social capital within the community, bridging social capital to access the resources contained by higher income networks, and linking social capital that connects the first two with public institutions.
Operating in communities around the country, each Circle™ initiative consists of a family working to get out of poverty and several middle and upper income Allies who befriend them and lend support. The family is the Circle Leader, setting direction for activities. With the help and friendship of their allies, each family sets and achieves goals unique to their own needs.
Getting Ahead is a comprehensive curriculum in which Circle Leaders learn to use the hidden rules of class to build up financial, emotional and social resources. Leaders also research the causes of poverty in their community. Bridges out of Poverty is a training program that provides Allies with community planning tools to address poverty and teaches the hidden rules of class. Weekly Community Meetings gather Circle Leaders, Circle Allies, and other interested community members to provide support and networking opportunities. At the Big View Meetings, held once a month, all the causes of poverty in the community are addressed over time, including community and system barriers.
Each Circles™ initiative is developed and designed by a Guiding Coalition, composed of community leaders, families with low income, elected and appointed officials, and volunteers. The coalition works to change the mind set and policies of their community with respect to poverty. A Lead Agency is responsible for staffing, operational oversight, and for contributing resources to each Circles™ initiative.
With the help of passionate and dedicated people like you, Circles™ has increased the emotional and financial stability of participating families and reduced their use of welfare benefits. Most importantly, Circles™ has brought the experience of poverty into the minds and hearts of new Allies and community leaders, taking us one step closer to the national commitment to end poverty!
Click here to get more information on Circles in Missouri
Click here to get more information on Circles outside of Missouri