1. Circles is based on building community to solve problems and reach goals more quickly and effectively.
Encourage everyone, including your self, to do more things with the help of community. When you feel overwhelmed, as we all do from time to time, ask yourself, who can I ask to join me in thinking through this problem? If you go across a race or class line for the help, all the better. Misery's best friend is isolation. Breaking out of it is liberating.
2. Every person, including you, needs enough relationships, resources, and reasons to thrive.
The Circles initiative must do everything it can to reinforce these outcomes.
3. All relationships are based on mutual reciprocity.
Make sure everyone has the opportunity to give back to others in some meaningful way.
4. People in poverty need to be in charge of their lives.
In our model they are known as Circle Leaders and over the course of their involvement in Circles take a more and more active role in leading their Circle and giving back to the community.
5. Building relationships across class and race lines is awkward.
You will need to have a new language to help people succeed at this. We will use an approach developed by Dr. Ruby Payne, called “Bridges out of Poverty” to help develop the language needed for allies and families to build healthy relationships.
6. Circle leaders must be in charge of their own Circle.
We will provide a course called, Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By-World, by Phil DeVol. The course helps to ensure people know what they want from a Circle ahead of time to help ensure well-meaning Allies do not inappropriately control them once the Circle begins.
7. Have fun, laugh whenever you can, and use common sense.
This will take you a long way down the road to success.