Circles Greenville County empowers families to exit poverty by providing them with tools, community resources, and relationships that enhance their lives and give them the support needed in order to thrive. Circles Greenville County is a chapter of Circles USA and was brought into the Greenville community through a partnership between SHARE Community Actions and Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in 2015. SHARE is a nonprofit Community Action Agency serving low-income households in Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee Counties for more than 50 years.
Many believe poverty is just a lack of wealth, but at Circles, we know poverty is also isolation — a lack of meaningful relationships and support. Circles is based on research which shows low-income families must have strong social capital and human connections across class lines in their communities in order to exit poverty. We offer a community that provides individuals and families the emotional support, accountability, mentorships, and resources needed to help them utilize their strengths and overcome barriers in order to reach their goals.
Circles is unique in that it is not a service or benefit program. It is a community-wide solution to help support people out of poverty and begin the end of the cycle of poverty in the Upstate.
Become an Ally and join hands with us to end the Cycle of Poverty!
An Ally is a volunteer from the community that supports a Circles Participant, which we call a Circle Leader. As an Ally, your job is to listen, ask questions, make suggestions and provide encouragement. You’ll help Circle Leaders use their unique gifts and skills to reach their goals, and Circle Leaders will help you have a better understanding of poverty in your community.
Allies participate in training that exposes them to the realities of poverty and systems and gives them skills to navigate relationships and cultural differences. After training, Allies are matched up with a Circle Leader and become mentors to this individual or family. These relationships are supported by a staff member called the Circles Coach, and a community of volunteers, resource teams, which surround the Leader and their Allies with resources and aid.
Allies use their life skills and knowledge to help Circle leaders navigate through situations and barriers they may have never previously encountered, but the ally has experienced. Common situations that allies help with are budgeting, negotiating a raise at work, interviewing for a job, learning how to improve credit, or buying a home.
Other volunteer opportunities with Circles are also available!
R.W.- “You get to do life with someone and watch them work harder than they ever have, and accomplish more than they ever thought. You get to see God transform these people’s lives over the course of this time. It is a privilege to be there, and to witness that, and to watch them grow into what they hope to become.”
B.M.- “Circles has exposed me to economic and social circumstances which I knew existed, however, I now realize I did not really understand all the personal implications of generational poverty until I got in the Circles Program. Money alone will not break the cycle, it takes a community.”
G.K.- “Prior to Circles, I knew poverty from an intellectual perspective. Certainly, I cared; I gave and I prayed for those in need. Circles connected me to poverty emotionally. Now, I’ve made a life-long friend with my Circle Leader… a friendship that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Would you like to get involved? We need Allies in Greenville and Anderson Counties.
Circles Greenville is hosting virtual informational sessions for the community and we would like to invite you to participate. In these sessions, you will learn about Circles and how our program works, get to hear from volunteers and participants, ask questions.
To register choose a date and click the link below…
*November 18th 6:30pm-7:30pm
*November 30th 12:30pm-1:30pm
*December 8th 6:00pm-7:00pm
*December 10th 1:00pm-2:00pm
Moving past one family at a time…
A solution to poverty exists. Circles Greenville believes the ultimate responsibility for poverty or prosperity in our community rests not only in the hands of individuals but within all sectors of our community. By engaging all segments of our community, people learn to see each other differently and to think in new ways about poverty and how to eradicate it. Our model focuses both on what individuals can do to change their situations and on what society can do to remove the barriers that stand in their way.