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Soup, Bowls and Trivia

LaGRANGE- Delicious soup was served in artistic-looking bowls and trivia was played Tuesday night at the Del’Avant Event Center during the Empty Bowl Dinner event put together by Circles of Troup County.

Circles of Troup County is a non-profit organization in LaGrange whose goal is to help people in poverty and work to open up opportunities that will better enrich their lives. The areas that the program works with its participants on are community organizing, case management, smart goal setting, financial literacy, peer-to-peer counseling and learning, and child/youth development. Circles’ mission is to end poverty within the community and attempt to identify and eliminate the causes of poverty and support those who wish to lift themselves out of poverty. Circles uses a strategy that supports adults and their children in poverty to get out of their difficult situation.

In Troup County, more than 20 percent of the people live at or below the federal poverty level, which is $23,550 for a family of four.

“Everyone’s path is different in life,” said Circles of Troup County Director Sherri Brown, as she spoke to the crowd at hand. “The only thing we require you to do is show up at Circles. We teach people and try to empower them. They choose their own path and goals and we try to surround them with the right people so they can move forward with those goals.”

Circles of Troup County was organized in July 2012 and Brown was named director shortly after the opening. To participate in Circles, people must apply and go through the interview process. Participants who are accepted must attend a 12-week class that includes a wide variety of concepts including goal setting, financial literacy, “hidden rules” of economic class and more. Once completed, participants graduate and each are matched with two to four middle class volunteers who commit to working with them to reach their goals. Participants are the “Circle Leaders” of this small group and the volunteers are “Allies.”

Throughout the evening, a few participants of Circles got the chance to speak to the large audience about their life experiences and struggles before being in Circles and the impact that the program has had in their lives.

“This organization did more than just lend a helping hand but I realize that Circles promoted growth, financial stability and a better lifestyle for you and your family,” said Ashon Russell.

“Circles helped me build relationships in the community, set goals for myself and put away money for health purposes and financial plans,” said Ericka Henderson.

At the beginning of the dinner, soup was served in handmade bowls made by Circles participants. Then the event transitioned into each table playing a 10-question game of trivia that revolved around poverty-related questions led by Holly Roberts, Circles of Troup County coach.

The evening was also filled with plenty of raffle items given out for prizes.

“One of our goals this year in Circles is to make more partnerships with organizations that will open more opportunities for our participants,” said Brown. “That will lead to more better-paying jobs and more permanent jobs.”

 

Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at james.simpson@lagrangenews.com