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Circles works to move people out of poverty

Imagine a community where most people have sufficient resources, relationships and a purpose to thrive, so no one would have to live in poverty.

What would that community look like?

I’ve learned that many stories tell lessons. The following story is one I heard that was told by a grandfather to his grandson in a different place; however, this story could have been told of our community.

So the story goes, “An old grandfather said to his grandson who came to him very sad after schoolmates had shunned him and would not be his friend: ‘Let me tell you a story. I, too, at times have felt a great sadness for those who reject me, with no sorrow for what they do. But despair wears you down and does not hurt the ones who ignore you. It is like taking poison and wishing your adversaries would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”

He continued: “It is as if there are two wolves inside of me. One is good and does no harm. He is full of hope and does not take offense when no offense is intended. He lives his life to form new relationships that will build up instead of tear down his community. But the other wolf, ah, he is full of sadness, despair and loneliness. The littlest thing will set him into feelings of jealousy and abandonment. He thinks only of himself, doesn’t care about how his actions impact anyone. He is all alone because his frustrations and sadness are so great. It is helpless despair, for his loneliness and despair will change nothing.”

Grandfather continued: “Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside of me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, grandfather?”

The grandfather smiled and said, “The one I feed.”

How long will the community of Pagosa Springs keep looking inward and feeding low impact strategies that just put band-aid fixes on the community’s persistent issues of poverty?

As grandfather said to us, the one that wins is the one we feed. So, how about living in a winning community and feeding a new approach?

This new approach is empirically proven to work. The Circles Initiative creates the framework for people to build intentional relationships across economic and class lines with the goal to empower people to move out of poverty.

Want to learn a part you could play? Call Circles, 264-5517, or wait for next week’s article.

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