Circles®, an established high-impact strategy designed to help families move out of poverty, is found in more than 70 communities nationwide. Circles® inspires and equips community members from all walks of life to develop solutions to systemic barriers that keep people in poverty while assisting families to leave poverty one-by-one-by-one.
The Circles® Campaign engages people of all economic classes, races and political persuasions in the work of ending poverty and building communities where everyone can live well. Circle® Leaders (low-income people who want to work to get their families out of poverty) initially participate in a 10-session facilitated course studying emotional intelligence, employer expectations, communication and relationships to money. In an important next step, Circle® Leaders have opportunities to participate in various groups to help them achieve their goals.
Trained community volunteers are linked with Circle® Leaders to serve as social capital. The reciprocal relationships built in these groups helps break down the isolation many low-income families experience, add meaning to the lives of all the people involved, strengthen the entire community and empower community members to work to remove the systemic barriers that make it so difficult for people to leave poverty.
We chose the Circles® Campaign as our strategy to end poverty in the Lewis Clark Valley, in Kootenai County and in Sandpoint because:
- It changes the mindset of the community;
- It empowers people of all economic classes to have a voice;
- It changes the systemic barriers that keep people in poverty.