Michelle Kaarst-Brown, associate professor in the School of Information Studies, and Tom Perreault, professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, have been named the 2018-21 Laura J. and…
National ‘Circles’ initiative at this week’s IRP
The Circles Campaign, launched by Move the Mountain Leadership Center in 2007, has drawn national attention for helping families out of poverty. It inspires communities to commit to new long-term solutions that address the barriers to economic stability. Rhonda O’Connor, director of Community Engagement at Visions for Change, will discuss the National Circles Initiative that is being piloted here in Syracuse.
At the heart of this program is matched Circles, consisting of two or more Allies and an individual who is ready to escape the grip of poverty. The Allies provide friendship, coaching, networking and support to help the individual achieve their self-sufficiency goals. Individuals begin their journey by participating in a 15-week training using the “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World” curriculum. Once they complete the training, they choose to become Circle Leaders, become matched with their Ally, and start working on their passage to self-sufficiency.
O’Connor has been involved in the not-for-profit arena in many different capacities. As director of planning for PEACE Inc., her responsibilities included program development and evaluation, grants development and management, as well as budget development and fiscal oversight for a $3 million CSBG grant.
As director of Community Engagement for Visions for Change, O’Connor is responsible for the development, implementation and fiscal oversight of the Circles Initiative for Onondaga County and for the expansion of the Circle program into other communities within the state.
O’Connor received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Oswego and her master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University.
The Institute for Retired Professionals, established by University College of Syracuse University, provides opportunities for retired people to stay intellectually active, to expand interests and make new acquaintances. Presentations are made by SU faculty and specialists within the community.
For more information on this program, call University College of Syracuse University at (315) 443-4846, or visit http://www.yesu.syr.edu/IRP.