RESULTS Outreach - Relationships Matter
I've been fortunate since last summer, to have been engaged with an incredibly inspiring group of volunteers from Circles USA, working to strengthen and build their anti-poverty advocacy efforts on both a local and national level.
Through partnerships with volunteers like LaNae Havens (Circles Albuquerque, NM) and Jill Chappell (Circles Indianapolis, IN), I've had the opportunity to hear from community members as they share their stories of their struggles and successes with poverty. Through the support and encouragement of their family at Circles, they continue to succeed in ways they might not have thought possible. Our Circles and RESULTS relationship is a perfect partnership in many ways because we both believe in the power of sharing stories to help bring about impactful social change. We both believe that each volunteer has unique talents to share, and given the right encouragement and tools, can become a stronger advocate regarding the issues they believe to be important to not only themselves, but to the community in which they belong. I feel most blessed to be not just considered a Circles ally, but to be able to call both LaNae, Jill, and so many more, my friends. To be able to sit at a table and share a meal, to share with each other our new and good news, and to take an action (whether it is writing a letter to the editor or meeting with an elected official) is always something I look forward to. I hope that while you are at the conference this year you take time to connect with those Circles members who are in attendance and then return home to meet with a Circles group in your community.
In addition, since last November I've been able to visit Indianapolis to attend a Circles meeting as part of their “Big View” team. This team is tasked with bringing larger community, regional, and national issues regarding poverty to the rest of the group. As part of these monthly meetings, I've presented how RESULTS address poverty policy issues with members of Congress by using our EPIC laser talk. In between my visits, Circles members, with the help of RESULTS volunteer Sharvonne Williams, have written letters to the editor (utilizing RESULTS tools and resources) as well as continuing to build relationships with state and national leaders. In addition, on a weekly basis members of the Big View team have participated in training calls to help them strengthen and expand their RESULTS group. I look forward to visiting again on July 17, and officially welcoming RESULTS Indy to our grassroots advocacy family. Circles Indy meets every Thursday evening at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (TAB), 418 E. 34th Street at 5:30 pm ET.
It's also been exciting to meet with RESULTS Real Change Fellows Brent Coughenour and Kayla Rudolph, as well as other interested community members. We are looking forward to training starting in July for our RESULTS Louisville U.S. Poverty group.
I can't wait to put all our RESULTS training to work at the 2014 International Conference, and look forward to meeting new advocates in my region soon after. If you know anyone in the Indianapolis area, or in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, please contact me at [email protected]. I would love to connect with them.
Who has the power to end poverty? We do, one relationship at a time.