Vol­un­teer to be a friend to a lo­cal fam­ily in need

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - 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.

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