Bridges To Circles Update

Haley Richards, the community organizer for The Bridges To Circles with the Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, gives IN an update on the program.

“We currently have 34 active Circle Leaders working on their plan for self-sufficiency with the support of allies.   About half of these participants just completed the 15 week course in May and were matched with allies in June.  2 former Circle Leaders have accomplished a tremendous amount in a year’s time and are now allies.  Also we have 2 Circle Leaders who have opened Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) which are matched savings accounts for low-income families to help them build assets like buying a house, starting a business, or obtaining post-secondary education.  The other big addition to our initiative is a car donation program which is designed to equip our participants with reliable transportation.  We have already transferred two cars and just recently received 2 car donations from the City of Pensacola’s fleet surplus. Currently, our greatest need is more allies.  Our circles have multiple Circle Leaders working with 2-3 allies  when the ideal is to have 1 Circle Leader matched with 3 allies.”

The Bridges to Circles poverty initiative, in partnership with Unite Escambia’s Poverty Solutions Team, is actively working with families who desire to move from living below the poverty line to self-sufficiency. Bridges helps those in poverty get back on their feet with the help of volunteers, who act as mentors through a 15-week course.

If you are interested in volunteering please attend the Bridges Out of Poverty workshop on Thursday, Aug. 12 and Hands-On ally training, Thursday, Aug. 26, from 6-8 p.m. at the Catholic Charities Outreach Center, 1815 N. Sixth Avenue.  For more information, contact Haley Richardsat 429-7296, ext. 17 or e-mail