I am honored to be named by the AARP Public Policy Institute, along with 9 other community leaders (all of whom are 50+), as an AARP Well-Being Champion. AARP is showcasing the impact Circles USA has had in building a “Culture of Health” in America’s communities. Today, 10/25/18, AARP launched the Website and social media (Twitter & Facebook) campaigns promoting the Circles model which fosters well-being and economic stability. To learn more, read the AARP booklet outlining the programs and work of the 10 champions of change in 2018.
This article comes as Circles USA begins our 2017 expansion and shares the heart warming story of Danika. When Danika was 21 years old, she nearly became a homeless single mother. After dropping out of college she was working at McDonald’s and couch-surfing. Eventually, she humbly returned with her infant to her mother’s home in Asheville, North Carolina. Danika’s efforts to improve her job-readiness skills led her to the local Circles program, which gave her the help and motivation to become self-sufficient.
From CNN: The Circles USA® Campaign is a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. Operating in communities around the country, each Circles USA® initiative consists of families 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.
Rather than targeting a surface need of at-risk communities such as housing or food provision, Circles® seeks to expand social capital by fostering relationships across racial and economic lines. It engages the community as a whole and encourages growth from people of all financial classes. Circles® is designed to assist families in creating their own personal paths out of poverty while at the same time expanding opportunities, connections and eliminating barriers in the community that make it difficult for families to thrive. History of Circles Campaign
Circles USA launched the Circles® Campaign in January of 2007 after having evolved for ten years from its roots as a discussion group between welfare recipients and social workers to its current form. Early results demonstrate that for every $1 spent on the program, $2 in welfare and food stamp subsidies was returned to the state, and $4 to the community as new earned income. Who We Are
The Circles® National Campaign currently has 62 member communities across 23 states and growing. Scott Miller from Albuquerque, NM is the founder of Circles® . The mission of the Circles® Campaign is to empower people from every economic class to solve poverty in their communities through individual transformation and community change.
From CBS News: The Circles USA® Campaign is a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. Operating in communities around the country, each Circles® initiative consists of families 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.
Thank you for your interest in exploring Circles as a solution to poverty in your community! Once you submit the form below a member of our team will respond to you about next steps.
What Others Are Saying
“Our Feasibility Study Group spoke to Circles USA personnel, leaders of Circles affiliates throughout the country, and representatives of other kinds of self-sufficiency and community-building programs. The decision to choose the Circles model came down to this: Circles is an established program with a proven track record of success and provides both a program framework/model and flexibility for customizing the program to our community.”
Sarah ThornburgExecutive Director, Friends In Deed
What Happens Next?
Circles USA will engage with your community as you work through these four stage of development:
ASSESSMENT – Asking questions: “Is Circles right for our community? Do we have the leadership and resources to start a Circles program in our community?”
CIRCLES IN THE MAKING – Getting started: If your community is ready and willing to start Circles, you will enter into a planning agreement with Circles USA (CUSA) to lay the foundation.
CIRCLES DEMONSTRATION – Taking action: You are now implementing Circles to support families out of poverty, collecting data, and assessing outcomes. You are asking, “How is it working in our community? Do we like the results we are getting? Have we been able to secure resources to sustain and grow the Circles program?”
SCALING TO A TIPPING POINT – Moving forward: You are happy with the results and can see the potential of growing Circles in your community to end poverty.
At the closing session of the CUSA National Leadership Conference, the 2016 Circles award winners were announced. Each award represents the incredible work happening at Circles chapters across North America. The CUSA National Team would like to thank everyone who submitted award nominations this year. Here are the winners for each category:
We want to thank everyone who was able to come to the 2016 Circles USA conference, and to all of you who supported people in attending. We had 112 participants from 21 states in attendance! There were 30 breakout sessions presented by Circles staff, allies, partners, and guests across a myriad of topics. Keynote speaker Larry Thompson was a huge hit with the audience. 13 Circle Leaders were able to join us this year.
Here are the evaluation marks for this year’s conference, based on a 5-pt scale, with 5 being the highest mark.
We received evaluations from 68% of conference goers. The percent of people who gave a 4 or 5, by category:
96% to the overall conference experience
100% to the presenters
98% to the food
87% to the venue
98% to the information
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions for what to keep and change that our team will use in planning the next conference!
Your Pictures from the 2016 Conference!
Please schedule a one-on-one meeting with Courtney using go-to-meeting to go over any questions or concerns regarding your data. Courtney is ready to help you gather the data and even help input if necessary.