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.
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.
When Helping Hurtshas sold more than 225,000 copies is considered a classic on the subject of the role faith-based organizations play in the alleviation of poverty in their community. The Circles USAmodel of creating Circles is explored and recommended throughout the book.
“When Helping Hurts”, does an excellent job of bringing the reader to a better understanding of poverty and the causes which are much more than just a lack of financial or material resources.
It also reveals how many of the current efforts churches have engaged may be unintentionally undermining the people they’re trying to help and seeks to direct Christians to more holistic strategies like Circles as stated in the book. In short, “When Helping Hurts” challenges Christians to help the poor empower themselves.
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.