Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. is the Summit County sponsor for the National Circles® Campaign. This evidenced-based initiative brings the community together to end poverty.
Circles® connects people who are motivated to move out of poverty and become self-sufficient (Circle Leaders) to economically stable volunteers from the community who are committed to changing the dynamics of poverty
(Allies). One Circle Leader and two Allies are matched, forming an intentional friendship of support. With the help of their Allies, Circle Leaders set and achieve goals unique to their individual needs and learn from one another,
while also having the opportunity to work together to address barriers within the community.
Circles® meetings are held every Wednesday evening at Westminster Presbyterian Church on West Exchange Street, Akron, Ohio. Leaders and Allies are asked to attend at least two meetings per month for 18 months.
To be eligible to participate as a Circle Leader or Ally, participants must have successfully graduated from a Getting Ahead program (Circle Leader) or complete Ally orientation and attend a Bridges Workshop.
For more information about Circles®, please contact the Circles Administrator at or 330-940-1105.
What is Circles®?
Circles® is a national initiative that connects people who are motivated to move out of poverty to economically stable people committed to changing the dynamics of poverty.
Circle = 1 Circle Leader + 2 Allies
Circle Leaders are individuals or families who are motivated to get out of poverty. After completing Getting Ahead, a 14-session course, the individual creates his or her own plan to increase their financial, professional, and social resources to move out of poverty.
Circle Allies are volunteers who form a supportive friendship with a Circle Leader. Allies work with the Leader to figure out how to accomplish his or her plan, offering help in areas in which they are familiar; whether it's financial, educational, or social/community connections. Allies create goals for themselves as well, which Circle Leaders can help them with – establishing reciprocity.
When, Where, and How Long:
Structure of the Weekly Meetings
Circles is part of the Bridges Out of Poverty Summit County Collaborative (www.summitbridges.org) and is administered by Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. under the guidelines of Circles USA (www.circlesusa.org).
Become a Circle Leader
To be eligible to participate as a Circle Leader, participants must have successfully graduated from a Getting Ahead program.
Getting Ahead - Getting Ahead is a 14-16 session course developed for those living in poverty that focuses on the impact poverty has on them, their families and their communities. Getting Ahead works with participants to examine their own situation and to create goals and resources to encourage positive change. Getting Ahead is offered at several locations in Summit County. Please click here for more information. Upon graduation, participants are eligible to apply to be a Circle Leader.
There are many ways to volunteer with Circles:
Other volunteer opportunities are also available. Please click here for more information.
Other ways to get involved:
Attend a Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop - This workshop is designed to assist social workers, teachers, medical staff, management and other professionals that work with people in poverty. Bridges Out of Poverty is a set of ideas and information on how to best work with, retain, and assist those in poverty as well as create a more in-depth understanding of the systemic barriers within our community that perpetuate poverty. There are several yearly Bridges Workshops which are open to the public. Our trainers are also available to provide on-site training at your facility.
Attend a Poverty Simulation - The Summit County Poverty Simulation is an out-of-your-seat interactive experience that will challenge your understanding of poverty, community services and public policy. It draws forth lively, humorous, heart-felt discussions between role-players at all economic levels. CEUs are available.
The Poverty Simulation is part of the educational/community change programming of the Bridges Out of Poverty Summit County Collaborative. The simulation is coordinated by Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority and its residents. For more information, contact 330-376-9699.
Circles accepts donations of many different kinds, including:
Donations can be dropped off at Akron Summit Community Action, 670 West Exchange St. Akron OH 44302, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm; or can be brought to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1250 West Exchange St. Akron OH 44308, on Wednesday evenings only between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
If you would like to make a monetary donation, please make checks payable to Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. and write in the memo “Circles”. Checks should be mailed to Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. ATTN: Finance; 55 East Mill St.; Akron OH 44309. Monetary donations can be used for weekly meals, program supplies, children’s programming costs, etc. If you would like your donation to be used for a specific purpose, please specify on the check or in a letter.
Circles® is proud of the support we receive from the United Way of Summit County, PNC Bank, the Akron Community Foundation, and our dedicated individual donors and volunteers.
Bridges Out of Poverty Summit County Collaborative (BOPSCC) - www.summitbridges.org
United Way of Summit County - www.uwsummit.org
Westminster Presbyterian Church - www.westminsterakron.com
Circles USA - www.circlesusa.org
PNC Bank - ww.pnc.com
Akron Community Foundation - www.akroncf.org