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Circle’s Initiative: Working to move people out of poverty

The Circle’s Initiative is about relationships — relationships that expand social capital in our community.

So, what is social capital?

If I were to ask you how many people you could count on in a personal crisis, I imagine most of you would respond with a number of people between five and 10, maybe more.

For low income people living in poverty, that number is one or two.

This concept applies to the Circle’s Initiative, because the program 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.

Let’s examine this concept more closely.

This past Sunday, Rev. Donald A. Ford preached a sermon on the topic of relationships, using the example of the movie, “Grand Canyon.” Rev. Ford said, “It is an older movie and it is about the lives of two men. One is a married, white, upper middle class person who lives in an upper class home with a supportive wife. His name is Mack and he is played by Kevin Kline. The other is a single African-American tow truck operator who lives in an area that has a lot lower average income and thus, it seems, to have more crime, more young people joining together in gangs to seek other and unlawful ways to gain more than they have. His name is Simon and he is played by Danny Glover. They cross paths one evening when Mack’s car breaks down in Simon’s neighborhood. Simon comes to Mack’s rescue. Thus begins a relationship that neither of them expected to ever have in their life. There is a ‘Grand Canyon’ between the lives of the two men. The movie explores the complexities of human relationships between social classes and the futility of instant cures. In a lot of ways, it is a depressing story, yet there are glimmers of hope. The hope that is portrayed is not one of filling in the ‘Grand Canyon’ that exists between the two, or even leveling it or even eliminating it. The hope comes in the final scene where both families stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon together, not separately, but together, looking out over the immense gulf and Simon asks: ‘What do you think?’ It is Mack that replies: ‘I think it’s not all bad.’

“For some, there is a vast gulf between people, yet as people look at that vast gulf together, it’s not all bad. You see, relationships are what Jesus was about. Personal relationships. He healed some and others not. Yet those who were not healed had each other.”

Want to understand how you can form part of the circle?

Call Circle’s, 264-5517, or attend the presentation at the Men’s Ecumenical Breakfast at Community United Methodist Church this Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 a.m., or the noon meeting of the Rotary Club at Nello’s on Thursday, Feb. 9.

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