Circles of Opelika ceremony for its first-ever graduating class last month


By Morgan Bryce

Circles of Opelika held a graduation ceremony for its first class of “circle leaders” Aug. 22 at the Southside Center for the Arts.
Seventeen individuals, along with their families and friends, celebrated this accomplishment. For graduates, the next phase of the program will be a partnership with a Circles “ally” or “mentor” for 18 months, who will provide advice and support for them on their path to financial independence.
“When it’s all said and done, we want to see people have increased savings accounts, more employable skills, as well as deep lasting bonds between graduates and their allies. We hope that the relationships that they’ve established during that 18 months doesn’t end at 18 months … we want it to be a lifelong commitment and bond because many people in poverty don’t have access to positive resources that they can call on in a time of need,” said Director Regina Meadows in a February interview with the Observer.
Meadows helped launch Circles of Opelika last December, which has received solid support from churches, individuals and organizations alike in the Auburn-Opelika area.
Overall, Meadows said the first session of the Circles program was a success and educational for its participants.
“They (students) were very appreciative of the support from the group, thankful to Circles for being a source of support as they go through the various situations and thankful to have been exposed to (some unfamiliar but helpful concepts),” Meadows said. “The first group of Circle Leaders have really set the bar high. They were motivated and committed during the pre-program interview process and maintained that same level of commitment throughout the first 12 weeks.”
The next session will begin Sept. 5. Meadows said the next batch of Circles students will have an expanded opportunity to learn about area resources available to them through visits with representatives from Opelika’s Southern Union State Community College campus and local Goodwill Career Center.
For more information or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, call 334-203-1860, email, like and follow the organization’s Facebook page or visit the national Circles website


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