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Second Circles group forming
Program helps people move out of poverty
new slt circles

A new Circles of Central Kansas group will start on Thursday, April 19. This program aims to reduce poverty in Barton County by turning to the experts — those who live from paycheck to paycheck and crisis to crisis — and empowering them with a circle of allies.
The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at First United Methodist Church, 2123 Forest Ave. People should enter through the west door on Stone Street. There will be a free meal at 5:30 in the basement. At 6 p.m. the graduates from the first Circles group will stay for a program and the new class will move to the classroom for the orientation.
There will be a second orientation meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26. People are encouraged to attend both meetings to learn more about how to get involved, said Becky Gillette from the Circles steering committee.
The program is a joint effort between Barton County Academy/ESSDACK, Barton County Health Department, 20th Judicial District Community Corrections and Kansas Kids @ Gear Up. The non-profit Youth Core Ministries Inc. is the head agency for the local effort, which began here in 2017.
Those who sign up will complete a 20-week program called “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World.”
The first group graduated on Jan. 25, and has been moving forward in wonderful ways, said Gillette, who is also site director at Barton County Academy.
“We have some people who are already earning more than the poverty guidelines. We have some people who have received raises and promotions at work. Some of our graduates are going back to school. We are finding ways to reduce debt load!” she said.
“The best part of this program is that people in the community are actually able to join in the community. If Great Bend only hears from certain people, Great Bend will only be good for those people,” Gillette said. “Unless everybody in the town is heard, Great Bend won’t be able to grow. This program is for people who are tired of being stuck in the same old place, year after year.”