Allies are volunteers working to move families and communities into economic stability, through support, collaboration, and advocacy. A Circles Ally is a person who volunteers to assist a Circle Leader in achieving his or her goals to leave poverty. Allies and Circle Leaders have an intentional friendship.
The Core of the Circles program is the relationship between the Circle Leader and the Allies.
Why does the Circles model use Allies instead of Mentors?
Mentors imply that a person has a certain level of expertise and is sharing that expertise with the person being mentored. Most Allies have never lived in poverty and therefore don’t know how to get out of poverty. Circle Leaders are encouraged to take on a leadership role in their journey toward achieving economic stability; Allies, by definition, should be supportive and collaborative to that journey, rather than trying to be an expert on how to get out of poverty. See Full Ally Job Description -->
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.
Circle Leaders are most successful when they have people in their lives who support them.
Allies empower their Circle Leader by:
Being an intentional friend
Offering emotional support as needed
Helping Circle Leaders evaluate and clarify their goals intomanageable steps