circles washtenaw county

Become A Leader

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you ready to pursue your financial goals and personal growth? Circles is a program that helps low-income individuals and families increase their income, achieve their goals, and become financially stable. As a Leader you will receive training on finances, employment, health, and communication skills. But what really makes Circles different are the relationships you will form. We match you with two middle or upper income allies who are there to support you in your journey. Achieving your goals and moving from surviving to thriving is easier when you have a circle of support.

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How It Works

Circles Washtenaw County is part of a national network of over 70 Circles Chapters formed by Circles USA. The Circles model is based on building bridges of friendship and community to support individuals on their journey to economic stability. Our unique strategy also incorporates a combination of goal setting, financial education, career development and increased social capital to support the Circle Leaders with their goals.

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  1. Circle Leader candidates who are accepted into the program participate in a 14 week Circle Leader training. This training happens every Tuesday night at St. Luke Lutheran Church from 6-8pm. A meal and childcare is always provided.
  2. Circle Allies participate in a two-part training. The first part is online and self-paced and the second portion is in person. Ally training focuses on increasing their Poverty IQ, with topics to illuminate systemic barriers, the correlation between poverty and race, gender, and trauma, and the differences between generational and situational poverty.
  3. After successfully completing training, Circle Leaders and Allies are matched together and begin meeting weekly for social support, skill development, goal progress monitoring, and community building.
  4. Once Leaders and Allies are matched, the program is an 18 month commitment. Meetings and meals continue on Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm.

Circles - Washtenaw County attends at the Circles USA Conference in Orlando in 2023.

The new leaders of Cohort 6 joining for dinner to kick off the Circle Leader Training!

Cohort 4 Circle Leaders celebrate their launch in 2022!

Benefits & Eligibility

  • An extended community that will support you and your goals
  • Connections to resources and opportunities shared by fellow Leaders, Allies and staff members
  • Participation in workshops that help you advance your career, financial, and educational goals
  • Weekly programming that includes dinner, childcare and friendship
  • Resident of Washtenaw County living at or below 180% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Not currently experiencing homelessness
  • 6 months of treatment for substance abuse concerns
  • An effective treatment plan for mental health concerns

Circles Leader application

Circle Leader Applications are currently closed until we are ready to begin Cohort 7. To learn more about becoming a Circle Leader please fill out this form or email

Join the Circles Community

become a leader

Circles helps families become stable with a unique approach. Participants are called Circle Leaders and receive training on finances, employment, health, goal setting, and communication skills. As a Circle Leader, you will be matched with 2-3 Allies who are there to support you in your journey out of poverty. Getting out of poverty is easier when you have a circle of support!

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become an ally

Allies are intentional thought partners for Circle Leaders. As an Ally, your job is to listen, ask questions, make suggestions, and be a true friend and supporter. You and 1-2 other Allies will help Circle Leaders use their unique gifts and skills to reach their goals, and Circle Leaders will help you better understand poverty in your community.

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There are many ways to use your gifts in the Circles community! Some of these opportunities include joining a Resource Team to provide an additional layer of support for Circle Leaders. Every week we are looking for groups to provide and serve a meal for the Circles group. We also have an energetic Children’s Program that welcomes volunteers to share their time and talent!

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Need Additional Help?

Call the friends in Deed Help Line: (734) 484-4357


Contact Us

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