The Monroe County Circles® Initiative is in its third year of working with the community to better understand issues of poverty and support people as they work their way to financial stability. There are over 100 people who are a part of Circles® in Monroe County, and each one of them volunteers a significant amount of time, energy, and resources to the mission of eradicating poverty and building community. We are grateful for everyone, and are excited to spotlight one volunteer who stands out.
“The influence of a beautiful, helpful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town.” - Collier Graham
One of Circles® many beautiful characters is Kay Goodman. Kay is working her way out of poverty and is a strong role model as she helps her adult daughters and their children seek a better life. Her journey has been a struggle that she admits has sometimes not been positive or productive, but she is now well on the way to turning her life around. She is presently a student at Ivy Tech Community College where she studies Social Services with the plan to become a Social Worker. At Ivy Tech, she is an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society where she facilitated the Ivy Tech Halloween party at which she applied over one hundred tattoos for delighted kids! Other Ivy Tech volunteer activities Kay participates in include helping fellow students write their papers, working at Penny Lane day care for Ivy Tech’s Frank O’Bannon Day and helping Circles partner with Ivy Tech to bring much needed gift baskets to circle leaders during the holidays. She has given poverty a voice and a face and frequently speaks to groups on campus and off about her experiences breaking down stereotypes and building bridges between people of different economic class.
Kay has a background in catering and has used her culinary talent to supervise and cook at our weekly Circles® dinners proving great tasting meals to tired, hungry family members as they come together to fellowship and learn new skills.
She volunteers in many ways, large and small. Kay joined with a large group of individuals from Circles® and Trinity Episcopal Church for the Homeward Bound walk to support ending homelessness. She has also worked alone in the Circles® office to bring her organizational skills to bear and get our files in better order and regularly visits and checks up on people who are sick or in the hospital. Kay recently began serving on our Circles® Guiding Coalition, the governing board, where she has joined the resource team seeking funding and supplies to continue the work of circles.
Kay and her allies, the financially stable partners helping her achieve her goals, have joined together to help support other Circles® families with visits in time of need to provide food, clothing and a shoulder to lean on. They regularly speak to potential volunteers about their experiences as a circle and were interviewed by Fox news for a segment on poverty in Indiana. Kay was a representative to the Circles® National Community of Practice in Indianapolis where her Fox interview was shown to hundreds and she served on a panel of leaders answering questions from people working on the Circles® model from around the United States. Kay is willing to share her personal story of despair and triumph and is a leader, mentor and wise woman to all in the community.