Twenty Under Forty: At Circles, Venters shows people how to overcome poverty

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lauren Venters, 23, is showing people how to overcome poverty.

Venters is a LaGrange College graduate from Carrolton who began working as a development specialist at Circles of Troup County in February 2017. Since she began working for Circles, she has assisted with numerous events to help people in the community move from poverty to self-sufficiency.

“We don’t necessarily have things that we hand out to people,” Venters said. “We don’t hand them money. We never hand them a check. We do provide a healthy meal once a week, but what we do is about connecting the dots between hurdles in the community. Helping people find sustainable housing, affordable housing, helping people get a job, build their résumé, understanding what they need to do in order to reach their goals. There are small steps that we help them accomplish and guide them. We don’t do it for them, but we are supporters of people.”

Circles has been operating in Troup County for 11 years, and a large part of Venters’ job is educating the community on what the group is doing.

“We work toward capacity building, establishing creditability in the community, so we want to not only promote Circles, but we want people to understand what Circles does,” Venters said. “My undergraduate degree at LaGrange College is in nonprofit leadership, and that allowed me to see several nonprofit models. I did not find another model like Circles. Circles is very empowering toward self-sufficiency.”

Venters said that Circles takes people from surviving to thriving, and those who work with her say that she brings a lot to the organization.

“Lauren is energetic and organized and absolutely delightful to work with,” said Sherri Brown, the director of Circles of Troup County. “She has brought so much to our organization that we needed and that we are benefiting from, and we feel really lucky to have her.”

At the same time, Venters is thankful for the support that the community has shown to Circles of Troup County.

“I would like to thank the City of LaGrange for believing in Circles,” Venters said.

“It is really neat to see how many people believe in our mission and support us year-round. There are a lot of agencies in the community, other nonprofits, that are community partners, and it is great to see all the good work that we can do when we empower and support each other.”

In addition to working for Circles of Troup County, Venters is currently pursuing her master’s degree in community development at LaGrange College.

She also volunteers for the Phi Mu Fraternity at LaGrange College, serves on the board for Hillside Montessori and enjoys spending time with her boyfriend.