Circles USA: Lifting families out of poverty

A program called Circles USA is working help build a sense of community and end poverty for struggling families. The organization relies on volunteers like Alan Thompson to help guide family leaders to success.

PROVO, Utah (NBC News) — Alan Thomson is a man who embodies service, and he volunteers for Circles Utah Valley – a community-based initiative where volunteers step into the circle of a struggling individual or family to help them achieve financial stability.

For the last four months, the Reece family in Provo has been calling a trailer their home. That’s two adults, seven kids and two dogs in one trailer. It’s what poverty looks like. However, Tenteshia Reece is working to change her family’s future with the help of Circles and volunteers like Thomson.

“The way Circles works is I’m what they call an ally,” said Thomson. “Tish — she’s the leader. She tells me what she wants to accomplish, and then she asks me what I can do to help her.”

Thomson helped Tenteshia find the temporary home, and he helped set up a kitchen in a nearby shed. Together, their next goal is to find a real home.

The Circles program also sets up meetings, offering meals and conversations about goal setting, budgeting and other life skills.

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