Times are tough. Whether you are struggling to make ends meet or you see the challenges your neighbors face, it is more important than ever to come together to find solutions.
Circles® is a program that works to build a community where everyone has enough money, meaning and friends to thrive.
We provide a safe, encouraging space for people to do the hard work of creating and setting goals that move them from just surviving to thriving while they are surrounded by a circle of support.
Who comes to Circles?
Circles is made up of people that want to make a change in their own life and the lives around them.
Whether you already know what goals you want to work on or are simply motivated to start your journey toward something better, Circles has a place for you. During your time in the Circles community, you will experience the way that relationship can open your eyes to new possibilities and open your heart to other people’s stories.
Circles participants working to escape the cycle of financial struggle are called Leaders. By joining Circles, you are taking leadership in your life, in your community, and you are the expert in your own lived experience. Circles knows you fight hardest for your own dreams and goals – not the ones that other people pick out for you.
Previous goals that Circles Leaders have accomplished include finding a job with better pay or hours, buying a car, going back to school to finish a degree, improving their credit score, buying a house, running a small business, becoming a healthier version of themselves physically or mentally and developing new parenting skills.
Circles Allies are community members that join Circles because they believe in Leaders’ ability to thrive and want to be part of the journey! Allies walk alongside Leaders on their road to thriving, learn about local resources, and expand their own worldview.
Through encouraging Leaders in their goals, sharing social capital, and helping Leaders problem solve practical needs, Allies give Leaders a leg up.
Some ways that previous Allies have helped Leaders achieve their goals:
- connecting a Leader to a job or company they know
- advocating with a landlord
- meeting weekly for coffee & encouragement
- going car shopping with a Leader
- doing weekly meal prep together
- inviting Leaders’ children over for a playdate
- creating a budget together, prepping for an interview
- helping find mental health providers
- teaching computer skills, and more.
How Does it Work?
Each Circles group of 5-15 Leaders has a Coach that helps Leaders identify goals, create plans, and navigate local resources. Our Coaches have diverse life experiences and understand the struggle of making difficult decisions, surviving complicated relationships, and how scary change can be.
Where To Start
Changing the direction of your life will not be a short journey. But Circles helps you set short and medium term goals that feel less overwhelming. First step: If you think Circles might be for you, come visit! If you are excited by what is happening in the Circles community, let a coach know you’d like to meet one-on-one to discuss where you are on your journey to thriving.
Most people start by taking a 16-week class called Getting Ahead. After that, you can sign up for Phase 1 of Circles which is 12 weeks long. At the end of Phase 1, if you and your Coach both agree you are ready, you will be invited to join Phase 2 which is a commitment of at least a year. You stay in Phase 2 until you achieve your long term goals. Once you complete Phase 2 (and we throw a party to celebrate you!) you are invited to stay part of the Circles community as an Ally – passing on your hard-earned experience and helping lift up others.
Circles meets as a group weekly to build relationships, learn new skills, and work towards goals. Within the larger Circles group are “Matched Circles”. While you will form many friendships during your time in Circles, once a Leader enters Phase 2 they are matched to two Allies and together they make up one Matched Circle. Matches are selected by Coaches based on Leader preferences, personality fit, and goal-skill compatibility.
The purpose of Matched Circles is to have a close, focused circle of support around every Leader and create a foundation for building an authentic friendship that goes beyond the walls of Circles meetings.
One of Circles’ key values is reciprocity: creating space for you to share your skills and wisdom with the community while also receiving support. Leaders who complete the program not only meet their goals, but keep their circle of Allies accountable to their goals too. Circles graduates go on to be thriving individuals and families who make their communities better. Sometimes, Circles graduates even come back as Allies to support new Leaders.
Did You Know?
In May 2022, 49% of Americans reported that they did not have the cash or cash equivalent to meet an unexpected $400 expense, up from 32% of Americans in November 2021.
What Happens at a Meeting?
Circles meets weekly every Tuesday from 6-8pm or Thursday from 5:30-7:30pm to build community and support each other on our journeys to thriving. Much of our community building happens around the dinner table, listening to each other’s goals and finding creative ways to lift one another up while sharing a meal. Sometimes a guest speaker will discuss a special topic.
Circles Youth Program
While we listen to and learn from each other, Circles Youth provides an inclusive and welcoming space, equipped to meet the needs of all children who are nursery age through middle school. Together, the kids of Circles participants share good news, read a book about the monthly topic, complete related activity stations, and have guided free time with mentors. High schoolers are also welcome to join us in programming or to use the time to complete homework.
Of the Leaders Who Graduated from the Circles Program in 2021:
Increased their Income
Increased their Assets
Decreased their Debt
More had reliable transportation
Want to join Circles as a Leader or Ally?
Looking to support Circles in another way? Reach out to our team.