For many living in poverty, one emergency, missed paycheck, or crisis can be the difference between having a home and being forced into homelessness. One way to combat this ongoing struggle is to provide educational resources and networking opportunities to those who are navigating their way out of poverty. This week, the Pack Up + Go team worked with our local Circles chapter to provide support for their mission to ensure that everyone has enough money, meaning, and friends to thrive.
Circles is the love.
Circles is friendship.
Circles is community.
Circles is relationships.
Circles is conversation.
WHAT IS CIRCLES?
Circles USA brings together middle-income and high-income volunteers to support families in poverty. By taking members of the community who have successfully interviewed for jobs, negotiated a lease, or managed credit card debt, and pairing them with members in monetary crisis, experience can be shared in a serious yet familiar and supportive way. These connections work to equip those currently struggling with poverty with greater access to valuable information and to help them achieve long-term financial stability. Circles is a national, proven, and innovative way of connecting people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to move individuals + families out of poverty. Their groups have been successful at helping those in poverty expand their social capital and meet financial goals in more than 60 cities in the US (and in 9 cities in Canada)!
HOW IT WORKS:
A Circle is made up of a Circle Leader (a low-income person or couple) with 2-3 Circle Allies (middle or upper income volunteers) who work together to identify and meet goals. The group serves as an additional layer of support as they work towards their goals together - holding each other accountable, walking with one another through challenges, and celebrating successes.
A 2014 National Survey of Circle Leaders who stayed in the program for at least 18 months showed that earned income increased by an average of 181%, and cash assets increased by 206%. We’d love to see this kind of success continue in Pittsburgh!
JOIN THE CIRCLES COMMUNITY:
Organizations like Circles depend on donations to keep their services free + available for the communities they serve!
Circles provides childcare + meals for their members during the weekly community meetings. Childcare + meals can often be a limiting factor for people who wish to become more involved with their communities. By offering these services free of charge, Circles helps make their events more accessible to all! While the links below are specific to the Pittsburgh chapter, you can find your local group here.