Organizations: Circles of West Georgia
Virginia Satterwhite had fallen on hard times. Her home life was roiled by domestic violence, and she couldn’t afford to pay her light bill. “I was just about to give up on hope,” she recalls. So she approached Leslie Davis, coordinator for Circles of West Georgia (CWG), to ask for money.
“Leslie told me no, which surprised me,” Satterwhite says, “but she said she would like for me to join this program called Circles that teaches you how to help yourself.”
CWG is a chapter of the national organization Circles USA, which is a long-term mentoring program for women to address the root causes of their poverty and break its cycle. Each client is paired with two mentors, who are called “allies.”
“There are three main needs we strive to meet,” says Davis, “financial literacy; education and employment; and personal improvement and empowerment.”
The organization, with two staff members and an army of 30 volunteers, has been serving Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties since 2015.
An estimated 20,000 families – and one in four children – live in poverty in Carroll County.
“We can help these struggling members in our communities by shifting from merely service delivery to self-sufficiency and community building,” Davis says.
The group has weekly meetings, where a meal is served and childcare is provided. The feeling of sisterhood is powerful, Satterwhite says.
“I feel like I can say anything to my allies without being judged or stereotyped,” she says.
Today, Satterwhite has a new home, a car and her own checking account.
“Being a part of Circles has shown me that nothing is impossible,” she says, “when you have someone to encourage you.”