More than two years ago, a Grace UMC life group began studying spiritual and material poverty. We also studied possible responses to poverty, seeking guidance on a transformational approach to poverty alleviation that we could adopt in our community.
During the course of our study, we found Circles USA, a proven, nationally recognized model built upon long-term relationships between adults living at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (Circle Leaders) and trained volunteers (Allies). Each “circle” meets with the goal of supporting Leaders pursuing their educational, employment, and other related goals, while increasing income to at least 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Other volunteers engage the community by increasing its “poverty IQ” and catalyzing collective action to target systemic barriers to poverty alleviation.
Last year’s Fund The Need granted Center of Grace the resources needed to become the first Circles affiliate in Metropolitan Kansas City. We are pleased to announce that we are now preparing to start our first Circles class in 2017! Circles will build upon the successful programs, services, and partnerships at the Center of Grace, and it is our hope that you as our Grace community will join with us in making this program a core part of our offerings at the Center. We need volunteers at all levels, including marketing, fundraising, organizing, and resource identification. Please email CirclesOlathe@gmail.com if you would like to learn more or become involved in this exciting new opportunity!