Circles gives families a helping hand

During community studies in the past couple of years, it was determined that Fernley has a large number of residents who are considered the "working poor."

These are people who have jobs but don't earn enough to get above the federally mandated poverty level. It seems there is never enough money coming in to meet what it costs to house, feed, clothe and insure these families.

"Circles is a way to build community and make Fernley better for everyone," said Circles Coordinator Jessica Cutts.

Circles is a nonprofit volunteer organization that was formed to help people find mentors (called Allies) and resources that can move them above the poverty level and help them thrive.

Since forming a year ago, Circles has had 14 families go through its 15-week training process. In that time, the families determined their goals of getting off public assistance, getting better jobs, getting a GED or a number of other ways of improving their lives. These families will be the first group to graduate and receive their certificates of completion for the Circles curriculum at Fernley Intermediate School on June 3 at 6:15 p.m. Afterwards, the people will talk about how Circles has impacted their lives.

Circles is designed to blend people from all nationalities and beliefs to help each other and, in the end, assist other residents who are in the same spot they were before they received the knowledge and assistance of other Circles members.

According to literature handed out at the Circles Initiative meeting on May 20, "Circles strives to build effective relationships across class lines." Their motto is "Building Relationships for a Strong Community."

Circles will staff a booth at the Fernley Farmer's Market each Wednesday afternoon this summer to provide information on the program and take applications for volunteers to help as Allies or register people to participate in the program to improve their living conditions.

"It's not your conventional social service program," said Cutts. "It's a hand up, not a hand out. It is run by the community and isn't a government-ran assistance program."

Circles will have a Ladies Day events fundraiser June 28 at a residence by the golf course where vendors will display their products. There is a $15 charge to attend. Door prizes will be awarded and refreshments served.

For more information about this Circles or the upcoming events go to www.movethemountain.org, jcutts@lyon-county.org or call Jessica Cutts, Circles coordinator, at 835-3661.

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