Newsletter – February 2019


After a couple of weeks of getting to know each other, on January 8 following dinner, Circle Leaders and Allies gathered together, eagerly waiting to find out their matches. Rebecca, our Ally facilitator, led the group through an exciting activity where each individual received a hand-crafted puzzle piece and was tasked with finding their other pieces to complete their ‘circle.’ Leaders and Allies cheered and laughed as they found each other and joined their puzzle pieces together. Once all the Circles were completed, each group received some time for sharing and learning more about one another.

We have now reached an important phase in our programming. Each Circle has begun their journey in unpacking all the potential the group possesses. As the Leaders work on developing their goals and create a plan to pursue their dreams with the support of their Allies and the rest of the community at Circles RVA, we now wait eagerly for what they will accomplish.


Circles RVA is off to a strong start with 40 volunteers at the end of 2018. That allowed us to start the first class of 8 Leaders on August 14. The conversation and energy that is apparent at our weekly meetings is exciting and rewarding. Personal relationships are blossoming!

Now we are seeking 30 more volunteers to become Circle Allies for the second class of 15 Circle Leaders. We plan to start the second Leaders class in early March and we need your help. Becoming an Ally is a very rewarding experience. You will get to know a Leader and their family, who are likely to have a very different background from yours. You will learn how resilient and diligent they are, and you will grow from the friendship. You will have the satisfaction of helping that individual move out of poverty into stability.

The time commitment of an Ally is flexible. After an 6-week training program from 6:00 to 8:00 on Tuesday evenings starting in April,, two Allies are then matched with each Leader to form a Circle. A Circle gathers at least two Tuesdays evenings monthly and stays in touch weekly for up to 18 months until the Leader moves to economic stability on a sustainable basis. Learn more about becoming an Ally at our web site

Imagine yourself as an Ally. It’s a fun, rewarding and eye-opening experience!

Know someone who could benefit from becoming a Circle Leader? Refer them to us!

Becoming an Ally not for you? Volunteer in another capacity – volunteering at our weekly meetings or providing a specific skill or experience you have such as communications, job applications, financial literacy. More information is available at

Thank you for your continued interest in CirclesRVA.


Our page is at – Check it out for updates and photographs about what we are doing.

While you are there help us spread the word about CirclesRVA by liking and following the page. Invite your friends to follow the page too.

We also have a Group page which we are using as a way to share ideas and insights about poverty especially the issues that our leaders have identified as barriers to their moving out of poverty. Find the group by clicking on “Groups” on the menu on our Facebook page.


The noise and energy filled the room on January 22 as Circle Leaders and Circle Allies worked together to identify some of the road blocks “The System” throws up that make it hard for people to move out of poverty.

Some of the items identified in our meeting were:

Transportation — Getting to and from home, work, child care, government agencies and doctors becomes time consuming and expensive when you do not have a vehicle. Buses are infrequent and many times one has to take more than one bus.

Child Care — Intertwined with transportation, Child Care locations can be far from home and work. Costs are huge.

Housing and Credit – It is challenging to be able to move into a new neighborhood without a good credit score. Getting and keeping a good credit rating is hard.

School Safety — Need peace of mind about children during and after school. How to address these issues without children being labeled as snitches.

The Big View team will work on ways to address these issues at upcoming monthly Big View programs. On February 26, we will address Transportation.

Big View programs are often open events, held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 8 North Laurel Street, next to the Altria Theater. We have a group meal and conversation, followed by guest speakers and discussion. The upcoming monthly Big View topic will be announced in this newsletter and on the web site.

Please register at  Big View Sign Up if you plan to attend one of the programs. Big View is one of the best ways for you to feel the positive impact of Circles RVA in our community.

Join our Circles Community!

Many hands make light work. Circles RVA would not function without the wonderful volunteers who support us week by week. Want to learn how you can be involved? Visit us on Hands On at  HandsOnRva-CirclesRVA to learn about different ways you can plug in!