Circles empowers people with the resources and community support they need to achieve financial independence.
What is Circles about?
Circles has two goals: (1) to help individuals and families get out of poverty and (2) to remove the barriers that keep people in poverty. Our success depends upon building strong connections to people and resources within our community. We gather middle- and higher-income volunteers who befriend, encourage, and support families on their own paths out of poverty. These intentional friendships help those seeking long-term stability to find the information and build the human capacity that allow families and communities to thrive.
Circles isn’t about quick fixes or handouts. Circles is a long-term program that equips families and individuals with the relationships, confidence, skills, and knowledge required to be self-reliant. As part of Circles USA, our Utah Valley chapter opened in 2011 and has since become a leader in fighting poverty and empowering those seeking financial independence to become strong and resilient members of our community.
What is a Circle Leader?
Circle Leaders are low-income individuals who are trying to leave poverty and are committed to working towards financial stability. They attend weekly meetings, beginning with a 12-week course in which they learn SMART goal setting, budgeting, and life skills, then create a plan to achieve financial stability. (Dinner and children’s programming are provided weekly.) They continue coming each week for a minimum of 18 months to receive support from Coaches, Allies, and Peers to accomplish their goals. Through this accountability process, Circle Leaders are able to increase income, decrease debt, and get off public assistance. They graduate from Circles when they have reached their financial goals and are able to maintain stability.
Interested in becoming a Circle Leader?
What is an Ally?
Circle Allies are middle-class volunteers from the community who become intentional friends to struggling individuals and families by providing encouragement, acceptance, support, life experience, and social networks. Once matched, Allies and Circle Leaders meet regularly to work on goals, address problems, and celebrate accomplishments. The influence of a friend can mean a lifetime of success for individuals stuck in the cycle of poverty. These relationships provide an important sense of belonging and a foundation for success that lasts a lifetime.
What do I gain as an Ally?
- Two trainings to prepare you for your role: one Bridges Out of Poverty Training and one Ally Training (5 hours total)
- Dinner and a children’s program provided for you and your family at each evening Circles meeting
- Build relationships with other Circle Leaders and Allies
- Support from staff on site who can mediate concerns, provide advice, and direct to resources
- The opportunity to witness the impact of your volunteer work and to make a long-lasting difference in the local community
Interested in becoming a Circle Ally?
How can I help?
- Befriend a Circle Leader
- Offer emotional support as needed
- Help Circle Leaders clarify their goals and identify incremental steps to reach each goal
- Attend Bridges Out of Poverty and Ally training
- Submit and pass a criminal background check
- Community Team: Plans activities to nurture helpful discussions and build rapport among community members. Assists with site management/cleanup.
- Recruitment Team: Expands awareness of Circles program. Recruits Allies and Circle Leaders. Helps with events and presentations.
- Resource Team: Helps manage and connect resources to assist Circles participants to reach financial stability.