What is Circles®?
Circles® has discovered self-determined
people can and will significantly improve their economic stability and overall health if they have access to the necessary education,
support networks and community resources.
- Scott Miller, CEO & Founder of Circles® USA
Circles® USA is a nationally-known, proven, and innovative way of connecting people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to move people and families out of poverty. We believe the responsibility for both poverty and prosperity rests not only in the hands of individuals, but also with societies, institutions and communities. Our approach is grounded in research that suggests families must have strong social capital and connection within their communities in order to improve their economic situation.
Circles® is not a four week class, and it’s not a handout. It’s a lot of work for everyone involved. But we know it works. Statistics show that participants who stayed in the program for at least 18 months experienced a 223% increase in their overall income.
The Circles® Approach
Our approach focuses on three stages:
- Crisis management and stabilization
- Education, job placement and job retention
- Advancement and economic stability
Each Circles® group consists of a low-income person or couple who enrolls in Circles® Leadership Training to build financial, emotional and social resources. During this training, they develop an Economic Stability Plan that sets goals unique to their own needs and dreams. Graduates become Circle Leaders. Prospective Allies, middle-to-high income community volunteers, also complete training.
Circle Leaders are paired with two to three Allies who support their efforts to achieve economic stability. They meet twice a month to discuss goals, celebrate milestones and provide peer support. Big View meetings, and Resource Team meetings take place on the other two weeks each month. Circles Leaders drive the focus of these meetings/classes based on their goals and future plans.
Circle Leaders and their Allies continue meeting for 18 to 24 months or until goals and future plans are realized. Weekly meetings always include a warm meal and free childcare in addition to opportunities to learn something new.