Breaking Cycles of Poverty Together: Circles Sauk Prairie

Caitlin and Capri, a married couple, are Circle Leaders at Circles Sauk Prairie, WI. We recently had the joy of hearing from them and their Allies about their CUSA journey.

Both Caitlin and Capri come from families experiencing generational poverty. Like many people raised without financial literacy tools, they felt permanently stuck in survival mode. They joined Circles USA to break that cycle, rewrite harmful narratives about money, and build thriving futures for themselves and their family.

“We wanted to change our family tree,” they told us, “and we soon realized that the change needed to begin with us. We learned early on that in order to see growth, we would have to get very uncomfortable. No one could have prepared us for the things we were about to experience after entering Circles.”

When the couple completed their Circles training, Circles staff matched them with three Allies: Marilyn, Jim, and Collin.

“[Circles] directly put us in the lives of others who came from a very different background than us and all of our friends,” the couple noted. “We still had the survival mentality at this point. Our Allies, on the other hand, absolutely did not. They were all in a very different place in their lives. They were, in fact, where [we] longed to be.” 

Together, the Circle of five started to make changes that would move Capri and Caitlin towards financial security and help them reach their goals.

Capri began a career as a union electrician. He has been excelling and growing tremendously over the years, showing “hard work and dedication to his craft,” according to Marilyn. Caitlin also made strides in her work life, pivoting to a career that afforded her more independence, a lighter schedule, and a healthier, more gratifying work environment. As a result, she has been able to spend more time with her family, taking her kids to school in the morning and being there when they get home. Jim tells us that these “four beautiful, happy, well-adjusted kids… are the center of Caitlin’s and Capri’s world.”

When Caitlin and Capri bought a home, their Allies supported them through all of the new challenges and questions that came with the milestone—from building a budgeting system to managing big home improvement projects. “[Our Allies] are always there to answer our questions no matter how silly they seemed. They are there with patience and guidance. They may not have all the answers we need; but they are willing to put in the time and effort to help us which in itself means so much to us,” the couple shared. 

And when the two got married, their Allies were right by their sides: from the early stages of planning the wedding to helping them get ready on the big day. The ceremony was even officiated by their Ally, Jim!

“They’ve become more than just Allies to us,” Caitlin and Capri told us. “They have become friends and mentors that hold a very special place in our hearts. It was amazing that people we barely knew were willing to go the extra mile for our family. They have really stepped up to the plate to teach total strangers how to grow and be prosperous. Their generosity and patience has inspired us to want to be a resource to others.”

To learn how Circles USA matches Circle Leaders with Allies to grow social capital, visit our blog or watch our new short documentary film, Lives Transformed Video Spotlight: Asking For Help | Yakilin’s Story.