Circles

Working to End Poverty

Inspiring and Equipping Families and our Community to Resolve Poverty and Thrive.

We believe no one should live in poverty and if given the right tools and support, economic stability can be achieved.



6:8's Circles Sauk Prairie will reduce the Poverty Rate in the Sauk Prairie School District by 10% in 10 years by EMPOWERING Circle Leaders (individuals and families living in poverty) using 20 years of research and proven methods to teach skills and surround Leaders with support and social capital so THEY lead themselves permanently out of poverty. This initiative involves Leaders, Volunteer, and the community working together to END POVERTY through a weekly gathering of accountability and support.



Overview

In October 2018 6:8, Inc decided to begin a Circles chapter as an organizing force, accountability, and resource to help more people lift themselves out of poverty.


Circles equips and inspires families by matching one highly motivated low-income person or family (called a Circle Leader – one who is leading her/his own life out of poverty) with two middle- to upper-middle class community volunteers (called Allies – persons who commit to friendship, companionship, and support on the journey out of poverty). Circle Leaders are trained, supported, and held accountable to build financial, emotional, and social resources, and to expand their social capital. During an initial 12 weeks of foundational training, each Circle Leader creates a personal Economic Stability Plan that defines SMART goals unique to their own needs and dreams. The Plan maps the way forward through the 18-month commitment to weekly Circles meetings for learning, support, and accountability. Circle Allies are trained, supported, and held accountable to learn the hidden rules of class, to assist the Circle Leader in expanding their social capital, and how to help without hurting, rescuing, or enabling.


Circles equips and inspires communities by creating opportunities for regular, facilitated, ongoing engagement between community leaders and influencers, and Circles participants. During one of the four meetings each month, the Circles Class invites a community stakeholder or influencer to join them for discussion of a local or national systemic barrier to upward socioeconomic movement. Plans are created to work together toward resolution. Over time, these gatherings and the mutual work undertaken by persons of diverse socioeconomic status will begin to shift the mindset of the Sauk Prairie community to want to resolve poverty, with the understanding and commitment that persons experiencing poverty must be at the poverty-resolution table.

Circles Sauk Prairie Overview

Circles is a long-term approach to end poverty permanently in our community. Each week, local families working to overcome poverty (Circle Leaders) meet with community volunteers (Allies) over dinner and programming. During these meetings, Circle Leaders work on their goals toward self-reliance. Over time, incomes improve, debt and public assistance decrease and necessary relationships are built. Our mission is to inspire and equip families and communities to resolve poverty and thrive. We believe no one should live in poverty and if given the right tools and support - economic stability can be achieved.

How does Circles work?

Circles is a unique partnership of Circle Leaders and 2 to 3 Allies. Circle Leaders are low income individuals (and their families) who have the determination and dedication to break out of the cycle of poverty. By engaging in meaningful relationships with their Allies, Circle Leaders and families can break through their isolation and achieve a better quality of life. Allies are community volunteers who share their experience, time, and energy to help a Circle Leader and their family “figure out” how to get out and stay out of the cycle of poverty. Engaging in meaningful relationships with a family and helping them grow and succeed provides a deep sense of fulfillment and brings real meaning to life!

Circles: an innovative, community-driven way to solve poverty

We believe that responsibility for both poverty and prosperity rests not only in the hands of individuals, but also with societies, institutions, organizations and communities. Our approach is a progressive model grounded in research that shows families must have strong social capital and connections (relationships and resources) with their communities in order to improve their economic situation and overall quality of life in their neighborhoods.

Volunteer with 6:8 Circles Sauk Prairie Today!

To learn more about Circles & how to get involved:

Email: 68Circles@MakingServicePersonal.org

Call/text (608) 561-8468

Circles USA Video Library

What is Poverty?


At Circles USA, we believe “the beginning of the end of poverty” must start with understanding our current beliefs and practices. Circles creates the space for people to challenge their assumptions and arrive at more informed views of poverty.


In this video, meet Amber, a Circles graduate who has left poverty behind and is now helping others to do the same. She shares her journey from surviving to thriving, capturing the lived reality of poverty and what it takes to end poverty as we know it.


Read the blog and watch the video here.

What is Circles USA?


CirclesUSA works across the nation at the local level to reduce poverty by building community. Through online or in-person training and weekly meetings, participants (called Circle Leaders) build intentional friendships with volunteers (called Allies). Over time, these relationships help families climb out of poverty and remove the barriers that kept them there.


Read the blog and watch the video here

Lives Transformed Video Spotlight: Education and Self-Confidence; April’s Story


Social isolation can lead to “survival mode”—an exhausting cycle that traps people in poverty. April, a young mother in WI, felt stalled in her life and wanted to build meaningful connections in her community. As a Circle Leader in her Green Bay, WI Circles chapter, April found Allies that helped her access the self-confidence she needed to prioritize self-care, further her education, and pursue professional credentials.


Read the blog and watch April's video here.

Lives Transformed Video Spotlight: Asking For Help; Yakilin’s Story


What if hard work isn’t enough to break the barriers keeping a person in poverty? Meet Yakilin, a single parent who buried herself in work to cope with loneliness and economic anxiety. When Yakilin stepped out of her comfort zone and joined Circles, she built bonds that empowered her to reach out in times of need—giving and receiving support within a caring, non-judgmental community.


Read the blog and watch Yakilin's video here.

Lives Transformed Video Spotlight: Budgeting and Saving; Ashon’s Story


Budgeting and other financial skills can help families move from surviving to thriving. Here, healthcare worker Ashon describes her first Circles meeting as “A breath of fresh air”…one that would connect her with the support network she needed to reach her savings goal and build an emergency fund to sustain her family through unexpected setbacks.


Read the blog and watch Ashon's video here.

Lives Transformed Video Spotlight: Building a Business; Pam’s Story


An often-overlooked path out of poverty is entrepreneurship. Pam, the Circle Leader featured in today’s video, is a single mom in Greenville, South Carolina. She had big goals for her family, yet she struggled to meet them with her income from cleaning houses. Her friends at Circles helped her turn her expertise into a successful small business.


Read the blog and watch Pam's video here.

Reducing Poverty through Business Entrepreneurship


At Circles USA, we know that not everyone follows a traditional career path. That’s why we celebrate entrepreneurship as an avenue for talented, passionate people from every walk of life to reduce poverty within their families and communities. Here, Circle Leaders describe how Circles participation equipped them with the entrepreneurial skill sets and networks to launch their own heart-centered businesses.


Read the blog and watch the video here.

Systemic Change: Overcoming Predatory Title Loans


Predatory, high-interest loans run at an average 400% annual interest rate, trapping working families in cycles of poverty. Watch how one chapter of Circles USA worked to break this cycle by connecting participants with financial education, networks of support, and organized community actions to create a more humane option for people in need.


Read the blog and watch the video here

Scott Miller, Founder of Circles USA



We’re proud to share this intimate portrait of Circles USA founder Scott Miller at home in Albuquerque, NM. Here, Scott reflects on the origins of Circles in his experiences as a volunteer at homeless shelters; the power of bringing communities together to change the narrative and the system around poverty; and his latest vision for poverty alleviation systems.


Read the blog and watch Scott's video here.