The Circles initiative in Utah Valley empowers people with the resources and community support they need to get out of poverty. In 2019 alone, 39 percent of its participants got off public assistance, 50 percent decreased their debt, and 65 percent increased their income.
The award-winning program relies on volunteers and a small staff, which now has two new members: Brent Hutchison and Helen Porter.
As the Circles Utah Valley coordinator, Hutchison oversees the long-term initiative to stabilize individuals and families and allow them to thrive. He loves working with his positive and driven staff and colleagues. His work has helped him understand that we’re all connected. The choices we make affect others’ experiences. Also, the success of the underprivileged improves the community as a whole.
Like many others, Hutchison is coping with COVID by getting outside and hiking with his family and doing woodworking projects. Before COVID, his favorite pastime was getting together with friends and family. When he needs a good laugh, he turns on “Parks and Rec.” He also enjoys reading. His current book is “Negotiating Opportunities: How the Middle Class Secures Advantages in Schools.”
Hutchison and his wife Katie have two children, a dog, and a cat. They love getting out and exploring the mountains together.
As the Circles Provo coach, Porter connects and motivates Circles leaders and allies. Her life coaching and management background helps her connect with each person and understand their strengths and challenges. The best part of her job is helping people overcome their limiting beliefs and move through significant barriers. She also loves working with people through networking and team-building events.
Through her work at Circles, she’s learned that you can’t make someone want to change. People have to find the desire themselves. You can support them as they change, though.
In her pre-COVID life, she loved to spend time scrapbooking with her friends. Now, she’s enjoying painting by numbers while she listens to podcasts or audiobooks. She also loves to read. She’s currently got “Fahrenheit 451,” “A Circles Leaders Story,” “Hillbilly Elegy,” “The Girl with Seven Names,” “Workplace Stability,” and “Change Anything” stacked on her nightstand. When she needs a good laugh, she watches her kids—three of her five live with her full-time. She also has two grandchildren, a dog, and a cat, and has recently remarried.
Porter and Hutchison are the latest additions to Circles Utah Valley, and they’re committed to helping people pull themselves out of poverty.