Oneida County, Neighborhood Center Leading Effort To Help Families Escape Poverty

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Oneida County Department of Social Services Commissioner Lucille Soldato and Sandra Soroka, Executive Director of The Neighborhood Center are excited to announce that The Neighborhood Center has joined the National Circles™ Campaign to be the Lead Organization to help create  community and individual social capacity through multi-layered, long-term relationships, linking those currently in poverty, middle class Allies, employers, educators, service providers, and community leaders. 

“I believe in the power of teamwork and the power of this community to unite so that we can create a new culture that helps families escape poverty,” Picente said. “This effort not only will help the families it serves, but it also helps bring together important community partners who can develop solutions that will address not only the issues facing each family, but the ones that transcend all families.”

“Oneida County has always been a place where we as a community work together so that those who have the greatest needs and those who have the greatest resources find ways to work as a team so that we all benefit,” Soroka said. “The Circles® Campaign is not only about raising the income of the people we serve, but of also raising the morale and spirit of this very giving community as we take a step forward together.”

The Circles® Campaign is a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. Operating in communities around the country, each Circles® initiative consists of families working to get out of poverty and several middle and upper income Allies who befriend them and lend support. The family is the Circle Leader, setting direction for activities. With the help and friendship of their allies, each family sets and achieves goals unique to their own needs.  

Rather than targeting a surface need of at-risk communities such as housing or food provision, Circles® seeks to expand social capital by fostering relationships across racial and economic lines. It engages the community as a whole and encourages growth from people of all financial classes. Circles® is designed to assist families in creating their own personal paths out of poverty while at the same time expanding opportunities, connections and eliminating barriers in the community that make it difficult for families to thrive.

We are seeking members of our community who are committed to ending poverty to join us as partners on our Guiding Coalition.  A Guiding Coalition is very different from a Board of Directors; it is designed to bring low, middle, and upper income people together in action-oriented roles. Through the action focus on practical, tangible tasks, Circles purposes are accomplished; relationships across class lines are built; and ideally, those involved increase their urgency about and understanding of poverty in the community.  

The Guiding Coalition member has three primary goals:

Use their role within the community and relevant stakeholder groups to gain the community’s support of the Circles initiative.

Provide their energy and resources to contribute to the Guiding Coalition collaborating with the lead organization to implement the Circles initiative.

Increase their own awareness and urgency regarding poverty by actively building relationships across race and class lines, and modeling the way.

Please join us in the campaign by contacting  Sandra Soroka, Executive Director, The Neighborhood Center,  272-2615 or sandys@neighborhoodctr.org.  

Oneida County is now one of 63 communities in 26 states working with Think Tank, Inc., and Move the Mountain Leadership Center.  Think Tank, Inc., a not for profit established in 2005 to offer capacity building, training and technical assistance for health and human service organizations and Move the Mountain, a nonprofit established in 1992 with funding from Annie E. Casey Foundation and several other national, state, and local entities committed to ending poverty, have joined forces to end poverty in the United States.

The Crisis: 46 million Americans currently live in poverty.

The United States is the richest country in the world. Yet with 15.1% of the U.S. population living in poverty, our nation is suffering through an enormous societal crisis. It’s a problem that’s not only measured by the intangible, personal stories of family hardship and heartache, but also by a real cost burden to society of $500 billion per year (Center for American Progress).

It’s a grim picture, but one that is slowly changing through innovations like Circles®, a high-impact strategy  to end poverty in our nation one community at a time.

The Solution: Circles®, an innovative campaign designed to eliminate poverty.

The Circles® Campaign is a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders like you with families in need. With your help, we can: 

Uplift families as they move themselves permanently out of poverty.

Empower people from every economic class to solve poverty in our community.

Provide families with the training, networking, and social capital essential to get out of poverty.

Change the systemic barriers and policies that lock people into poverty.