Circles Honors Volunteer Month: All-Star Volunteers, Pt. 3

A Circles USA chapter supports many volunteers who are the hands and feet of our organization: they give of their time generously by providing intentional friendships, meals, childcare, administrative support, resources, and connections by serving on a Resource Team, becoming an Ally, or offering up any other creative capacity the chapters could use. Our Circles volunteers are essential as we are building community to end poverty.

This national Volunteer Month, Circles is proud to recognize the outstanding contributions of our thoughtful and dedicated volunteers by sharing testimonials from their peers. Whether in response to our call for Outstanding Volunteer nominations or just giving a little shine on social media, our network didn’t hesitate to sing their volunteers’ praises! 

Here, in nominators’ own words, are a few of the bright stars who make up our CUSA volunteer community of practice.

Stan & Marrianne Slonina (Circles Scott County, KY)

Nominated by Jennifer Lay, Transform Scott County Poverty Alleviation Coordinator 

“I would like to recognize my super volunteers Stan & Marrianne Slonina. They have been with Circles Scott County since the beginning, way back in August 2022. Stan & Marrianne started out as Allies, but they quickly became Super Volunteers for us. Although they have done an amazing job as Allies to their Circle Leader, when I met with them for feedback about the financial literacy programs we were presenting, Stan had some great suggestions. So great that I said, ‘That sounds like you really have a handle on what this should look like–can you create it?’ They went to work (I’ve heard Stan did most of it.) and blended two different financial literacy programs–keeping what was most relevant to our group. When they brought this binder of lessons, they also offered to teach it for the next 6 months! I didn’t have to do anything except look it over and approve it. Stan & Marrianne are always willing to help out in whatever area is needed. They are a fantastic team and I feel very privileged to have them as a part of our Circles Scott County community!”

Ben Damstedt and Josh Nelson (Circles Salt Lake, UT)

Nominated by Circles Salt Lake chapter staff

“Ben and Josh have been steadfast pillars of support for Marcella, guiding her through the myriad of challenges she has faced. Whether navigating financial constraints, educational goals, or personal setbacks, they stand by her side, offering guidance, empathy, and practical solutions. Rather than seeing Marcella’s circumstances as limitations, Ben and Josh have empowered her to dream big and pursue her ambitions with confidence. They have consistently reinforced her belief in herself, reminding her that her background does not dictate her future and that with determination and perseverance, anything is possible. Here are a few words from the Allies as they give their insight into their experience at Circles.

I learned about Circles a couple years ago as more of my children were moving out and I had more time on my hands to be involved in something useful. I found Circles on the app and was very impressed with the Circles model. It seems to have long-lasting effects in helping people lead themselves out of poverty. And I wanted a personal experience; not just to mindlessly donate money to another cause. I encourage others to come get involved. Being an Ally is meaningful, enlightening… It’s person-to-person, boots on the ground where the rubber meets the road. —Josh

I learned about Circles from an article in the local newspaper. The article described the Circles model of building a community around people trying to climb out of poverty. I kept thinking about Circles and joined as an Ally about a year later. I’ve built friendships with many people I wouldn’t have even met otherwise, let alone gotten to know well. The Circle Leader I work with is a delight, and I love working with the rest of the Circles community. Being an Ally is a great way to make a real difference in someone’s life while they’re making a real difference in yours. —Ben

Read Parts 1 and 2 of our All-Star Volunteers series on our blog

Watch outstanding Circles volunteers at work in their home chapter in our recently released Weekly Meeting Virtual Tour Video.

Click the donate to Circles USA button and help us celebrate 25 years of
extraordinary volunteers building community to end poverty!