Circles of Hope graduates fifth class of leaders

Submitted by Sandy Bruney

February 24, 2014

Circles of Hope celebrated the graduates of its fifth Circle Leader class on Feb. 20 at First United Methodist Church, Wadesboro. Circles of Hope is a community-based organization that helps lift people from generational poverty by giving them the tools and knowledge to compete in a middle-class world.

The Rev. Stephen Shytle opened the program by explaining what Circles is from adult training to enriched child care. “I am proud of the folks who graduated and those who graduated in the classes before this one,” he said. “I hope you continue to invest yourselves in our program. It is sometimes a long, hard discovery, but you don’t have to do it alone.”

Several graduates reflected on what Circles meant to them and. Linda Gaddy shared Mother Teresa’s plea to “do it anyway’ when faced with hard choices. Paris Chambers said that “impossible” is a compound word. “If you break it down, it becomes ‘I’m possible,’” she said before reciting an original poem.

“Everyone has dreams and goals,” said graduate Jacia Dixon, who declared she was not giving up on hers. Frederick Colson summed it up by saying that Circles is “Love.”

After completing the eight-week course, graduates are invited to remain as Circle Leaders for additional training in finance, parenting, health, job skills, and more. These sessions are presented by community members with expertise in those areas. Circle Leaders are also paired with an Ally, a member of the community who continues to support the Circle Leader in his or her struggle to escape poverty. With friends and family looking on, graduates received their certificates from class facilitators Ginny Boyes and Tim Bennett. “Even if you don’t go on (as Circle Leaders), you are still part of our family, our team,” Boyes told the class.

Shytle concluded the remarks by saying “We concentrate not just on the older generation, but the younger generation so the circle of poverty is broken.”

To learn more about Circles of Hope and how you can help, visit or call 704-994-2333.