I am Jannie Janine Joy Thomas (Laugh) Originally from Richmond VA.
I have been affected by poverty both by generational and conditional poverty.
Born to a hard working mother of five that worked in catering and as a chef at a later age and a father who worked as a Richmond public school groundsman. We had very modest means. I never thought we were in poverty despite living in Public housing because my parents had jobs and worked. Growing up I thought the word poverty was something like a bad word. And despite my working hard and saving, Circles had me to realize that I fell in the same way of life as my parents and older siblings. I wanted out.
Before Circle I wasn’t involved with my new community that I had moved into, but was in need of connecting in a community setting like I’ve done before. I was introduced to CRVA through a client of my First cousin who thought it would be a good program that would help me start my business again. Little did she know she would change my family life forever.
Through CRVA I have received two wonderful Allies, Dick and Stephanie, and Great Circles staff that have motivated me to push through even when I just don’t want to. As my Twin daughter will always remind me mommy you made a commitment..LOL.. Kids, But I did ,
I made that commitment to the program and most of all to my family and myself.
Through all of Circles Support from my Ally Family and Circles Family , I have Started that business that I wanted. I have cleaned up a lot of my credit and I sit on the Board of Directors of Circles and am putting life into action with a pay forward attitude in the way CRVA has helped me.
Today I am proud of being one of CRVA first Cohort and proud of being a leader of my own life. Starting my business is just the start of what’s to come from me. Now face with the Pandemic has pushed me to come up with other ways to stay in business and also be able to help my family and community safely.
To sum it up Poverty is real but it’s also a mindset. I chose to change both in my family. If we know better we can do better and also pass it on so others can do the same. I thank Circle for all the organization does for the Richmond and surrounding areas. My next steps are becoming an Alley and helping as my Allies have helped me and yes Dick, Stephanie,Helen & Kristin I’m here to stay for the long haul.