Befriend a local family in need

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By Jessica Awbrey
Julie found Circles Utah Valley in September of 2014 as a single mother with three children. After losing their rental home in an electrical fire, Julie and her kids experienced a few weeks of homelessness. She was able to find another rental but wanted Circles’ help to permanently break the cycle of poverty.

Circles Utah Valley is a community initiative with the aim of assisting local families in getting out of poverty and becoming self-reliant. Circles is hosting an event where you can learn more about being a part of this process in an effective and meaningful way.

Circles has a unique approach of providing an environment and training for families to receive support while setting, breaking down and reaching their goals so they can permanently move out of poverty. This is possible through a support network for the families, who are made up of community volunteers. The network facilitated by Circles empowers families, causing incomes to improve, debt and public assistance to decrease and relationships necessary to leaving poverty to be built.

Through Circles, Julie learned skills like budgeting and goal setting, which helped her build a financial support system for the first time. She met Pam, a community volunteer, who helped her overcome difficult circumstances, even reaching out to personal contacts to help Julie find a job after being laid off.

You can be a part of Circles by volunteering to work with a family as they work towards their goal of self-reliance. The role of a volunteer is to be an intentional friend, offering emotional support and helping participants break their goals down into manageable steps. In this process, the experiences that volunteers share can be invaluable to families as they go through life transitions.

As a volunteer, you will have a noticeable impact on a family. The relationship you will build with this family is lasting and a place to share personal experiences. These families are local, from your own town. United by a common goal, volunteers and families come together to form a community of support. You can volunteer as an individual, a couple or together as a family – your kids can even get involved.

Since that time, Julie’s life has been drastically different. She has been honored several times as an employee of the month, opened her first savings and checking accounts and married the love of her life. Julie graduated from Circles in February of 2016 when she raised her household income by over 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

On Thursday, April 13, Circles is providing a training that will be open to anyone who is interested in learning more about Circles and this wonderful volunteer opportunity. Come be a part of making a difference in the lives of families in your community. The training will be held from 6:15 to 9 p.m. RSVP to receive the location of the training at https://goo.gl/f4rre4.

 

For more information, contact Jessica Awbrey at 801-691-5242 or jawbrey@communityactionuc.org.