On Wednesday, June 13, five new participants graduated from their "Getting Ahead" portion of the Circles Initiative. Three of them were not comfortable being videotaped, but I will be posting the videos from the other two when I have them downloaded from the camera.
In her graduation speech, Nicole said, "Circles helped me to realize what I needed to do as far as my goals." Nicole is a joy-filled addict in recovery. She regularly attends N.A. meetings held at the church to keep herself clean and sober. She has to take five buses to get her from Whitaker to Pitcairn, which takes at least 2 hours, but she has not missed one session! Nicole learned to read, as an adult, about 2 years ago and still struggles with some of her words. She has persevered and her primary goal at this moment is to complete her G.E.D. and pursue other education. She has several herniated disks in her back, so she is looking for employment that does not include lifting and carrying, which requires further education. She is hopeful as she begins this next phase of Circles.
In the next phase of Circles, Nicole will work with middle- and upper-income Allies who will encourage her and help her to navigate the unfamiliar complexities of the middle-class system used in education and employment. Her goals will likely take more than a year to complete, but she is committed and has a vision for where she is going. The hope she has in herself and her future will be her intrinsic motivation that helps her keep moving forward in the difficult days when she is struggling. In that journey, her Allies and other members of the Circles Initiative will be her support and cheering section.
Nicole completed her speech by saying, "This church saved my life." With its Circles and N.A. programs together, we have become a place of healing and hope for her life.
I will highlight the stories of our other graduates, Diane, Dawn, Aldo, and Charlene, in my next reports.
Thank you, again, for your support of the Circles Initiative in Pitcairn! With your support and our work on the ground here, we are beginning to change lives! What you do makes a difference!