Utah Valley Circles Initiative (under Community Action Services and Food Bank of Provo)
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Circles Utah Valley Initiative is a program that focuses on helping poverty-stricken families improve their standard of living and become self-reliant. It creates support groups that involve members of the community from the middle and upper-middle classes to become friends and mentors to the family in poverty. Nearly 90% of the participants in our program are single mothers with children. The program provides a 16 week course covering the causes of poverty, communication skills, home ownership, tax assistance, and more. Over a 12-18 month period, the family head (Circle Leader) is matched with 2-4 Allies (community volunteers) to befriend, guide, and support the family as they choose the goals to rise from poverty. The entire group meets weekly and with the help and friendship of their allies, and their coaches (paid staff) each family sets and achieves goals unique to their own needs. The Circle Leader decides their future....the group doesn't TELL them what they have to do. All income classes work together to make it possible for the Circle Leader to expand opportunities and to identify and eliminate barriers to help the family to thrive.