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Poverty is a complicated issue, and the rural poor’s struggles are particular. TrueNorth Community Services understands those challenges, and is working to address matters and end poverty in our community through its Circles Newaygo County program.

Circles’ mission is to inspire and equip families and communities to thrive and end poverty. Circles takes a community-driven approach to addressing the underlying causes of poverty and supporting families in a holistic, long-term path to economic stability and self-sufficiency. It also takes a multigenerational approach, including the children of participants, known as Circle Leaders, in weekly meetings.

While their parents attend meetings on Thursday nights to learn about everything from budgeting to communications skills, the children have their own tailor-made curriculum to understand the same things in a fun setting. With free meals and childcare provided each week, Circles Leaders can focus on what they need to know, grow and get themselves and their families out of poverty.

The key to the children’s enjoyment and success is a dedicated group of childcare volunteers. Circles Newaygo County is in need of more volunteers on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner is provided, and children’s programming runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Circles meetings are in Fremont at the Church of the Living Christ, 605 Hemlock Street.

Sondra Basso, a TrueNorth employee, voluntarily helps with the kids at Circles every week.

“I really am supportive of their multigenerational approach to ending poverty, so I really did it to help the kids get a jump on life,” Basso said.

Stacey Maycroft, a TrueNorth employee, volunteers biweekly with Circles’ childcare.

“Our parents who are participating already have enough to do, and we want the kids to enjoy coming to Circles. The parents need that,” Maycroft said. “It’s really easy to choose the days you would like to volunteer.”

Anyone interested in working with Circles childcare can contact Michelle Marciniak, the Circles Coordinator, at (231) 924-0641, ext. 220, or mmarciniak@truenorthservices.org.

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