HOW IT WORKS
At Circles of Hope Haywood County, we believe that responsibility for both poverty and prosperity rests not only in the hands of individuals, but also with societies, institutions, and communities. Our approach is a progressive model grounded in research that suggests low-income families must have strong social capital and connections within their communities in order to improve their economic situation.
As of January 2014, there were more than 80 Circles groups nationwide. The Haywood County, North Carolina, group started in 2014 and launched its first Circles in April 2015. The Circles consist of low-income Circle Leaders who enroll in Circles Leadership Training/Development to build financial, emotional, and social resources. In addition, each Leader creates an Economic Stability Plan that sets goals unique to his or her own needs and dreams.
Working with the Circle Leaders within the Circle are trained, middle- to high-income community volunteers, called Allies, who support the efforts of the Leaders to achieve economic stability.
Each week, Circles meet to discuss strategies for attaining prosperity and to provide peer support. Monthly Big View meetings feature community discussions about the systemic barriers to prosperity and strategies to remove them.
ADDING VALUE TO COMMUNITIES
Circles of Hope engages entire communities in owning the solution to poverty. With an emphasis on collaboration and leveraging resources, Circles works with existing social/community services in Haywood County, North Carolina, to achieve stronger, more sustainable outcomes.
Circle Leaders who stay with Circles of Hope for the full program drastically increase their assets and earnings, as much as an 81% increase in income, based on the Circles 2011 National Impact Report. For example, a pre-Circle income of $653 per month increased to $1186 per month at the end of the program.