First United Presbyterian Church

Circles NWA at FUPC

Circles model

At First United Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, we support many community outreach efforts. One is Circles NWA, a program built on a national model designed to support individuals and families in moving out of poverty.

Elizabeth Houle, a Circles ally, brought us this report.

At Circles NWA, the pursuit of positive change and community empowerment is at the core of everything we do. We’re thrilled to announce that our CEO, Christina Williams, has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to the community. She’s among the 40 honorees chosen by the “Forty Under 40” organization for this year, representing individuals from the NWA and Fort Smith metro areas.

The “Forty Under 40” distinction is a testament to Christina’s remarkable career achievements and her unwavering dedication to community development. This recognition is not just about celebrating a remarkable leader but also acknowledging the impact of Circles NWA on the lives it touches.

Building Stronger Circles

Our commitment to making a difference in the lives of individuals working to break free from poverty is unwavering. Currently, we have 22 circle leaders actively participating in our program, each with a unique story and a desire to create a better future.

Out of these circle leaders, 10 are continuing their journey from the previous cohort, while 12 new circle leaders have recently embarked on this transformative path. Alongside them, we are proud to introduce 30 new allies, individuals who have stepped forward to provide support and encouragement to our circle leaders.

A circle leader, for those unfamiliar with the term, is someone who is determined to improve their life and overcome the challenges of poverty. The commitment is substantial: 18 months of dedicated effort, including weekly meetings, goal-setting, budgeting, learning, and personal growth. Our allies are by their side, attending these weekly sessions, offering support, and standing as beacons of encouragement.

Feeding Hearts and Minds

Every Wednesday night, a special ritual takes place at Circles NWA. We gather our circle leaders, allies, and their families to share a meal, free of charge. This meal isn’t just nourishing in a physical sense; it’s a symbol of the community coming together to support one another.

Individual and church volunteers generously donate their time and effort to prepare and serve these meals. It’s a beautiful act of unity and solidarity, reminding us that breaking the cycle of poverty is a collective effort.

Current Needs

While our journey has been inspiring, we do face some pressing needs:

1. Florida Workshop and Convention: Circles has an exciting opportunity to send our entire staff to a workshop and convention in Florida this October. This event would empower the team to become even more effective in our mission. To make this happen, we’ve started a Go Fund Me campaign. We have a generous matching gift of $1,000 to match donations, but we still need to raise approximately $5,000. If you believe in our cause and have the means to help, your support would be greatly appreciated.

2. Volunteer for Cooking and Cleanup: Our Wednesday night gatherings are a cornerstone of our program, and we could use your help. We need volunteers to assist with cooking and cleanup on the third Wednesday of each month. The cooking team arrives at 3:30 PM and finishes by 6 PM, while the cleanup team takes over at 6 PM and wraps up by 8 PM. If you’re interested in lending a hand, please contact Elizabeth Houle for more details.

At Circles NWA, we are continuously inspired by the spirit of community and the commitment to positive change. With your support, we can continue to empower individuals, transform lives, and build stronger, more resilient circles of support. Together, we can make a meaningful difference. Thank you for being a part of our journey.

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