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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • 8 Kansas groups combating poverty through Circles

  • With two new communities in Kansas working to “end poverty one family at a time,” Kansas now ranks second in the nation for the number of sites using the Circles Campaign. Last week, Sedgwick and Allen Counties signed their contracts to combat poverty in their communities.
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  •  With two new communities in Kansas working to “end poverty one family at a time,” Kansas now ranks second in the nation for the number of sites using the Circles Campaign. Last week, Sedgwick and Allen Counties signed their contracts to combat poverty in their communities.
    There are now 74 Circles sites across 24 U.S. states. With initiatives in eight counties, Kansas is host to almost 11 percent of the national total.
    “Kansas has been exceptional in their ability to catch the vision,” said Karin Van Zant, CEO of the Circles national campaign. “The message is spreading across the state, with interested communities visiting communities using the Circles Initiative to witness the results they are getting. We are honored to work with the staff and all the communities in Kansas.”
    What makes  Circles special?
    Weekly meetings start with a shared meal and offer a supportive, structured way for people to build friendships across class, race, economic, political and religious lines. Participants have the opportunity to assess and build 11 different resources — not just finances — on the way to getting out of poverty permanently. Finally, Circles is deeply rooted in the community and relies heavily on volunteers to make it work.    
    Recent data shows thatin McPherson County, participants have seen a 26 percent increase in income; a 38 percent decrease in personal debt; a 11.3 percent increase in assets; and a 54 percent decrease in the use of public funds.
    The counties with Circles Initiatives include: Harvey (2009), McPherson (2010), Reno (2011), Finney (2012), Marion (2012), Saline (2012), Allen (2013) and Sedgwick (2013).
    Together the groups have recently formed a Circles of Kansas organization to coordinate resources and continue expanding the campaign in the state.
    For more information, contact: Brenda Sales at Circles of McPherson County/STEPMC; 620-242-2015; 1200 E. Kansas, McPherson; or stepmcphersoncounty@gmail.com
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