Pro­gram to lo­cate in Salem City

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Josh Bird

Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Ser­vices and Food Bank is proud to be open­ing a new Cir­cles site in Salem.

Cir­cles Utah Val­ley is a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive that creates a net­work of sup­port and re­sources for in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who de­sire to over­come poverty. Ex­pe­ri­enced in­di­vid­u­als from the com­mu­nity vol­un­teer to meet weekly and pro­vide a “cir­cle” of friend­ship for those who are seek­ing to be­come self-re­liant. The pro­gram is al­ready a great suc­cess in Provo and Orem.

Salem Cir­cles Coach Jes­sica Aw­brey said she is ea­ger to make this op­por­tu­nity more ac­ces­si­ble to those in south Utah County. “This is such a great pro­gram and I’m ex­cited to work with fam­i­lies who are try­ing move to­wards fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14 per­cent of fam­i­lies in Utah County are liv­ing in poverty. Many of th­ese fam­i­lies in­clude those who are ac­tively seek­ing em­ploy­ment or

who are work­ing full-time but are not able to make ends meet. As in­di­vid­u­als strive to over­come th­ese chal­lenges, re­search shows that it takes more than an in­crease in fi­nances to be­come self-re­liant.

Cir­cles is seek­ing vol­un­teers with sea­soned fam­ily or pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence to be­friend in­di­vid­u­als who are work­ing to over­come poverty. Th­ese vol­un­teers, called Al­lies, will join with lo­cal fam­i­lies weekly as part of the Cir­cles Ini­tia­tive for 12 to 18 months as they work to be­come self-re­liant. Din­ner and child care will be pro­vided at each meet­ing.

Janet Chris­tian­son, a Provo Cir­cles vol­un­teer, said she en­joys help­ing and en­cour­ag­ing the par­tic­i­pants and cel­e­brat­ing their suc­cess. “There is great sat­is­fac­tion work­ing with some­one, see­ing them make progress to­ward their goals,” Chris­tian­son said.

In ad­di­tion, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is in need of child care vol­un­teers and meal do­na­tions. All vol­un­teers are re­quired to un­dergo train­ing and pass a back­ground check.

To vol­un­teer with Cir­cle Utah Val­ley, con­tact Kanai at kcar­mack@com­mu­nity­ac­ or 801-691-5215. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit com­mu­nity­ac­tion­cir­ I would like to be re­mem­bered as a per­son who wanted to be free... so other peo­ple would be also free. - Rosa Parks

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