A community effort to end poverty in Barton County will celebrate a milestone later this month. Circles of Central Kansas invited the public to the graduation of its first Getting Ahead Class at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the First United Methodist Church in Great Bend.
Beck Gillette, site director at Barton County Academy, said the ceremony will be followed by a reception with punch and cake in the Fellowship Hall of the church.
“This is a big accomplishment for both the students who have graduated and the community at large who have helped provide meals, child care, and support for these amazingly brave people,” Gillette said. “We could not have reached this day without the people of Great Bend and we would like to invite them to join us in its celebration.”
Gillette said the program got its start on March 31, 2017, when several leaders in the community came together to look at solutions to the problems of poverty in Great Bend.
“We met in April and, at our third meeting, on May 23, 2017, the Circles of Central Kansas Executive Board decided to send a letter to Deb Factor, development director of Youth Core Ministries, asking her for information about joining their Circles ministry that focuses on rural communities and the poverty issues that are unique to those areas.”
As a result, Circles of Central Kansas held an informational meeting last August and formed the first Getting Ahead class in September.
“We have 11 students who have been working really hard on learning about the factors that influence poverty conditions and, on Jan. 25, 2018, they will be the first to graduate in this process.”