FAQ about being a Ally

What is the time commitment of being an Ally?

In general, each month you will spend 4-10 hours with your Circle Leader and Circle. This time is expected to be spent in one 2-hour Circles Community Weekly Meeting, one monthly meeting with the Circle scheduled at a mutually convenient time outside of the Weekly Meeting, and in phone, text, and/or email support to the Circle Leader and other Allies as needed throughout the month.


Is my commitment to this Circle long-term?

Unless you have a difficult personality clash with the Circle Leader and you both agree that your involvement is not working or if a life-changing emergency precludes you from participating, you will be expected to be a part of your Circle for a minimum of 18 months. It takes time to get to know a person or family and develop the kind of trust necessary for this model to work. It also takes time for Circle Leaders to move from poverty to economic self-sufficiency and Circle Leaders need long-term support in building their resources.


Am I expected to make a monetary donation to my Circle Leader?

Allies provide friendship and non-monetary support for the Circle Leader. They are encouraged not to give money to their Circle Leaders.


How is the Circle Leaders’ progress evaluated?

Circle Leader’s progress is evaluated on the “Circles® Circle Leader Progress Report” from intake in Circles for up to 2 years after completion of Getting Ahead. Progress is measured formally and informally around 3 R’s: Resources, Relationships, and Reason to Live and Thrive. Building these 3 R’s is the primary goal of Circles.


If this work becomes difficult and I feel I am “in over my head”, how can I find the support I need?

The Circles Coach is available to Allies for regular check-ins and support. Periodic Ally Support meetings are also scheduled as a part of Weekly Meetings for Allies who feel they need a little extra support as they work with Circle Leaders.


How will our Circle know when the Circle Leader is ready to move forward without the support of the Circle?

In most cases, you will just know. The Circle Leader will have surmounted the obstacles holding him or her and family members in poverty and will have reached all or most of his or her goals from Getting Ahead. The statistical measure of this achievement will be when the Circle Leader reaches 200% of poverty, based on federal poverty guidelines.