Open Hand Ministries has recently adopted the Circles model to take its family care to the next level. What is Circles, you may ask? Circles is nationally recognized anti-poverty program that works to match neighborhood families wanting to to increase their income and assets (Leaders) with trained middle/upper income mentors (Allies).
Long before we heard about Circles, Open Hand was utilizing a similar approach with our families. Two years ago, we hired Akirah Robinson as our Family Care Coordinator to better oversee our families and their volunteers. When we learned about Circles and realized its similarities with our manner of care, we began to discern its fit with our ministry. After months of research and training, we eagerly agreed to help facilitate a Circles group in East Liberty by partnering with East Liberty Development Inc., East End Cooperative Ministry, and Repair the World.
By our powers combined, we are Circles East Liberty!
From September to December, fourteen families (a large majority being Open Hand families) met weekly at East End Cooperative Ministry and were trained on goal-setting, budgeting, and networking. On December 16th, eleven of these families “graduated” from this leadership development training and will be moving on to the next phase of the program as Circle Leaders.
In January, each of our Circle Leaders will be matched with at least two Circle Allies to help them work their plans and reach their goals. For eighteen months, gatherings will occur about twice a month for Leaders and Allies to connect. During these meetings, dinner will be served and childcare will be provided so Leaders and Allies can work together, uninterrupted.
The structure, tools, and training protocols of the Circles model will enable OHM to create a much larger pool of prepared homeowners and a much stronger network of support. Interested in helping out? We are always in need of dinner donations and childcare volunteers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information…or leave a comment below!