"When students and workers who have been in poverty (and have successfully made it into the middle class) are asked how they made the journey, the answer nine times out of ten has to do with a relationship - a teacher, counselor, coach or boss who... took an interest in them as an individual."
- Dr. Ruby Payne, in A Framework for Understanding Poverty
Shortly after the leadership at Covenant adopted our new Vision Statement ("Reaching New Generations through Dynamic Worship and Relational Service"), ABCCM began the Circles campaign. They match young parents (ages 16-24) in poverty with a small group of middle class allies. The allies provide the relational support the young parents need to overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency.
When I heard about this program I thought it was a great way to live out Covenant's vision, so I signed up. In July, I attended a day-long training that included a look at the dynamics of poverty. What an eye-opener that was.
Then in September I was matched with Tim and Christy, who you see in the picture above (along with Jackie Cocciadiferro, another member of our circle). Tim and Christy have two children: Faith, who will turn 3 this month, and Angelo, who just turned 1.
Our number one goal so far has been simply to get to know each other. We have been able to provide some coaching and support as Tim and Christy have dealt with various life issues. We recently celebrated with Tim as he got a new job. We're cheering on Christy as she finishes high school. But mostly we've just spent time together becoming friends.
I have several hopes for my involvement with the Circles campaign:
- I hope that with the love and support of our circle, Tim and Christy get the education and jobs they need to provide a good life for themselves and their kids.
- I hope that God will use this experience to teach me, to shape me, to help me become more like Jesus.
- I hope that my experience with the program will inspire others--maybe you--to get involved.
Interested? Click HERE.