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News Room

This is the latest news from SCCAP. For more information, please contact Doug Wilson, Director of Communications and Development at

Circles Initiative to become Thriving Connections

The South Central Community Action Program is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2015, the Monroe County Circles Initiative will have a new name, SCCAP Thriving Connections!

This renaming comes after more than six years of operation as the SCCAP Monroe County Circles Initiative. Over the past year, the staff, leadership team, and participants engaged in an extensive self-evaluation process in order to continue improving the model. As a result of this process, we identified the following areas of growth for the future:

  • Use a new name for the model, which is unique to our local initiative and reflects locally driven planning and operation;

  • Include updated information based on current research about poverty and stress in all training materials;

  • Increase emphasis on a multigenerational approach to escaping poverty;

  • Improve strategies for utilizing adult educational programs in order to increase post-graduation success;

  • Increase resources devoted to supportive employment services and job training;

  • Increase focus on building the emotional resources of participants to cope with stress that is often a barrier to escaping poverty.

We are excited about the future, and also acknowledge the successes and strengths of the past six years. The Monroe County Circles Initiative has helped 54 families study poverty, assess their skills and resources, learn how to set and achieve goals and give back to the community. Participants completed college degrees, obtained jobs and received raises, participated in financial and emotional counseling, moved into safe and stable housing including buying their own home, and more. The 75 children of Circles families have learned about problem solving, financial literacy, communication and planning for the future. In addition to increasing financial resources, participants have made significant gains in their social capital with a broader, more diverse network available to them for support, information and collaboration. Participants have also seen decreases in dependence on public assistance programs and in feelings of isolation and shame. Circles enjoys broad community support and regularly partners with many other non-profits, faith groups, local, state and federal government entities, for-profit businesses, service organizations and educational, financial and health institutions. In 2013, Circles had sixty seven separate partnerships and 267 different volunteers donated 5800 hours to Circles.  The broad volunteer base has helped educate our larger community about issues of poverty and break down stereotypes.

With the updates to our model highlighted in the bullet points above, we aim to be better and more consistent in helping participants gain the skills and resources they need to obtain and retain good, sustainable employment and create an extended supportive community in which they are empowered to improve their lives and become more involved citizens of the larger Monroe County community.

We offer our deepest thanks to our leadership and planning teams, and to everyone else who has helped, for continuing to work on assessing and revising our initiative to improve on our results in the years ahead.


Look for more details on the change to SCCAP Thriving Connections in upcoming weeks.