Kyra Reed, MD – PGY-2 EM/Peds
The Community Resource Spotlight is a recurring submission intended to highlight community organizations that advocate for vulnerable populations and to also increase awareness about these remarkable local resources.
February Spotlight: CIRCLES® OF SUPPORT
“Family”… “strength”…“ hope for the future”… These were just a few examples of the uplifting rhetoric shared by the members of Circles to describe what the group meant to them. At the weekly meeting, the group was seated in a large circle, of which was a recurrent theme echoed in the vision of this innovative group. There were no socioeconomic barriers in this circle – they had melted long ago into a unifying movement during the process of developing new, long-standing relationships that may not have otherwise come into fruition. As each person shared their reflections on the impact that Circles has had on their lives, it was apparent that I was witnessing the metamorphosis of not only the individuals who had sought a way out of poverty, called “Circle Leaders”, but also that of the “Allies”, volunteers who were paired with Circle Leaders as a pillar of support and guidance. Individuals from different “circles”, or walks of life, were now engaged in candid conversations regarding poverty, violence, and daily life struggles. This inspiring group of individuals are indeed the boots on the ground in the campaign against poverty – and it is working. Watch: Success Story Video
It all starts with dinner. After loading up a plate of a warm, delicious cooking, everyone gathers around the multiple tables for a family style dining experience. This aspect of the meeting is arguably one of the most important pieces – everyone is family, and you sit by someone new every week. Dinner is filled with discussions about one another’s past weekly events, where they are coming from, hilarious stories, and children doodling in their spaghetti sauce. Certainly, this is a family gathering. Following dinner, children are shuttled to the playroom, where volunteers lead interactive games. The volunteers, guests, Allies, and Circle Leaders all bring their children to play together during the meeting –yet another wonderful layer to the Circles’ theme. At the meeting’s conclusion, everyone shares positive, new experiences. There were many victories to be applauded, including job interviews, improved school grades, and graduating from the program. My positive experience that day was being able to learn about this tremendous organization and its truly exceptional members.
The Nuts and Bolts of Circles
Circles is a local and nationwide campaign against poverty using a unique and thoughtful solution – a 16 week course for “Circle Leaders” (underserved individuals from the community) that focuses on self-reflection, employment, finances, and the skills needed to thrive in the community. After completion of the course, Circle Leaders are paired with “Allies”. Allies are volunteers that act as a support system in the transition out of poverty – encompassing the emotional, psychological, and financial aspects of what it means to be impoverished. The result is self-sufficiency, long lasting solutions/relationships, and ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty. How Circles Works
We care for underserved and impoverished individuals in the ED every day.
This is therefore a valuable opportunity to educate ourselves about the lives of our patient population. As advocates for our patients, we have the responsibility to directly engage in our communities and discover the very real cultural, societal, and financial barriers that affect health care. Understanding our patients from this perspective would ultimately lead to improved, thoughtful solutions and subsequently, a higher quality of care. Why not get out there and make a difference in a new and inspiring way?
How can you help?
– Sponsor a poverty simulation for your group: Poverty Sim
– Become an Ally
– Volunteer at the weekly meetings: childcare, plan meals and meetings
– Provide a meal for one of the weekly meetings
– Donate to Circles
Want to attend a weekly meeting?
– Julian Center Circles: Marie Weise at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 317-941-2200
– Circles – Back on My Feet: Brian Meyer 317-250-4133
Special thanks to the Julian Center and Circles of Support.