Circles Ashland is a relationship-based, community-driven solution to poverty.
We believe that responsibility for both poverty and prosperity rests not only in the hands of individuals, but also with societies, institutions, organizations and communities. We also believe that our communities have an abundance of people, resources, and hope sufficient to end poverty once and for all - all that is missing are strong bridges between these parts.
We build those bridges by nurturing intentional friendships, providing education opportunities, and advocating for change.
Our approach is grounded in more than 20 years of research that shows families must have strong social capital and connections (relationships and resources) with their communities in order to improve their economic situation and overall quality of life in their neighborhoods. It combines best practices in several disciplines including community organizing, case management, grassroots leadership, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, financial literacy, mentoring, peer-to-peer counseling and learning, and child/youth development.
The Circles model has been implemented by many well-known organizations such as United Way, Goodwill, The United Methodist Church, Lutheran Social Services, Community Action Partnerships, Catholic Charities, and Chambers of Commerce. It has also been adapted by community colleges, housing corporations, workforce development centers, human service systems, community neighborhood centers, and hospitals.