. MUSKOKA — Circles® South Muskoka needs your help!

What is Circles®?

Circles® Muskoka is a community-based poverty reduction initiative that creates relationships across economic boundaries. It matches people of low-income who have graduated from our District of Muskoka and United Way funded Getting Ahead program with people of middle and upper income who have attended Bridges out of Poverty training to form intentional friendships.

Circles® stems from an innovative model based on a body of research that suggests people can more easily bridge out of poverty when relationships exist within the wider community. These relationships develop social networks to help everyone feel supported to thrive.

The Circles® approach has been used in over 100 communities and districts in the US and Canada. Circles® launched in Canada 10 years ago in Lampton County and continues to expand across Ontario. It is a proven and credible initiative that makes real and ongoing change for individuals and communities.

Circles® Muskoka launched in Huntsville in January 2017 and are thrilled to be expanding to a second site in September 2019 in Gravenhurst!

Circles hosts a workshop July 25 in Port Carling. All are welcome to attend to learn more how they can help others in need.

We hold meetings with the Circle Leaders, Allies and other interested community volunteers three times a month. These meetings begin with a family-style meal and provide support and networking opportunities for the Circle Leaders, their families and their Allies.

Would you be interested in contributing to these meals? Circles needs to form “Food Teams” that volunteer on a cycle to help shop, prepare and serve to our Circles community. Circles® runs from September until June and our meal partners ideally contribute once per month on a rotation (approximately 9 times per year).

This means, a Rotary Food Team, would be responsible for picking up donated food, shopping for other meal components, preparing a healthy meal for the Circles community (numbers are still being compiled, we anticipate between 30-50 people weekly), setting out food, and cleaning up. YWCA Muskoka has funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation and financial donations to cover all meal costs. Groups of 3-6 people each time would be ideal. We would also be able to provide the dates for your team from September until June in the near future.

If you’re interested, I would love to set up a meeting with someone that may want to spear-head this Food Team and discuss how you can help us move this initiative forward. Starting each meeting with a family-style meal fosters a safe and supportive environment that builds trust and community.

Help break the cycle of poverty in South Muskoka with Circles® Muskoka!

Thank-you kindly,

Amy Jones

Circles South Muskoka Project Coordinator