CirclesRVA: Building Community to End Poverty
The CirclesRVA model empowers individuals and families to permanently move themselves out of poverty and thrive by engaging the strengths, goodwill and existing resources of the entire community. The focus is on community ownership of problems and solutions to break the cycle of poverty. The Circles model is being used in over 70 communities nationwide, with promising results.
There is plenty of work ahead of us. The Richmond poverty rate at 25%. For children under 18, the poverty rate is 39%. These numbers represent the faces of children, men and women of our community. Every bit of empathy and friendship helps. The opportunity to work in partnership with other faith communities is very meaningful.
St. Paul’s is partnering with several Richmond faith communities to implement this innovative relationship-based volunteer model, which will require the commitment of 150 volunteers in various roles and on a flexible range of schedules.
Volunteer: Become an Ally!
Each week, local families that are ready, willing, and able to thrive (Circle Leaders) connect with community volunteers (Allies). During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking this process completely online! During these **currently VIRTUAL** meetings, Circle Leaders work on their goals toward economic stability and growth. Over time, incomes improve, debt and public assistance decrease, and supportive relationships are built.
Volunteering as an Ally is an unique opportunity to connect with someone whose life experiences may be different than yours. You will be investing your time in PEOPLE and you will have a lasting impact on someone’s life. There is no better return on investment for your time!
• Allies participate in training to build an understanding of poverty and acquire tools for relationship building. **Training will be conducted online starting THIS May.**
• Upon completion of training, Allies are matched with a Circle Leader. At least two Allies are matched per one Leader.
• Once matched, Allies commit to attend Circles at least 2 Tuesdays per month. Circles meetings are currently held virtually on Tuesday evenings. Outside of these Circles meetings, Allies check in with their Leaders on their own time. The total commitment is about 6-8 hours per month.
• Leaders and Allies work on the Leader’s goals over an 18 month period. During this time, Allies are supported by the Circles Coach and other resource teams.
• When Circles resumes its ability to meet in person, dinner and childcare are provided (free) every Tuesday evening for Leaders, Allies and other volunteers.