Circles of Opelika held second graduation ceremony earlier last week at Southern Union

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Circles of Opelika hosted its second graduation ceremony last Thursday in the Southern Room at Southern Union State Community College campus.
This graduation will have a level of success similar to the inaugural class. In the first class, there was a 100% completion rate. While the second class did not reach that mark, Circles Director Regina Meadows said it was another dedicated group that should be filled with pride for their efforts.
“We experienced some growing pains, but we are very fortunate to have the support of the community to assist as various needs arise and has helped to fill some of the gaps to avoid our program participants from suffering any lack. The community of Opelika is truly embracing the spirit of Circles,” Meadows said.
Dr. Linda North, Southern Union’s dean of academics, is one of the organization’s partners and spoke to graduates. In turn, graduates were able to share first-hand experiences and stories from their time in the Circles program.
Meadows added that there need will be ongoing as the program continuously recruits program participants (Circle Leaders); they will continuously need allies (mentors) to work with families that are applying to be a part of the program.
Allies are middle to upper class individuals that are willing and able to commit to creating an “intentional friendship” with a family or individual in poverty that lives, works, or worships in Opelika. There are no monetary obligations to participating in Circles, only a commitment of time. Allies are required to participate in two training sessions prior to being paired with a program participant (Circle Leader). After being matched with a Circle leader; allies are expected to attend at least one of the weekly Thursday-night meetings hosted by Circles Opelika and be a source of support.
Circles Opelika is the only program of its kind in the Auburn-Opelika area and is modeled after a National Program, Circles USA. Circles USA is based on years of research, and in addition to working with individuals and families, it works to address systemic causes contributing to poverty. Poverty is a concern of the entire community, and it will take the entire community to address it.
For more information, contact Meadows at 334-203-1860 or via email at rmeadows@myops.net.

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