Fort Scott Circles receives donation, seeks volunteers

During a meeting last Tuesday, leaders and volunteers in the Fort Scott Circles program received an update of the program, a report on current and upcoming needs and a check from a local family.

11-30 Circles

Siblings Robert Irby, Mary Rio and Janette Braun attended the meeting and presented a check of $1,694 to the program from the Dr. Pratt and Pauline Irby Endowment Fund, which they had set up in honor of their parents and use to help local charities they believe their parents would have supported.

Irby said he first heard about the program’s needs when he heard a report on the program during the Gordon Parks Celebration in October. Prior to that time, he said Circles was just a name to him.

“I was most struck when you said there was a need for transportation,” Irby said.

Braun, who is a member of the Circles resource team, said she and her siblings decided that need would be a good cause for the fund, recalling when their own father needed help with transportation when he could no longer drive.

“We understood that need,” Braun said, adding she believes her parents would have also supported that cause. “We’d like for it to be used for emergency transportation funding for Circles leaders.”

Those Circle leaders are members of the community who want to improve their way of life and join the program for training and assistance to help them towards that goal.

The current group has eight Circle leaders who will graduate to the next level of the program on Dec. 16. Beginning in the new year, those participants will each need one or two accountability partners who will provide support for them as they strive to reach their goals.

“It’s about being a friend,” Hedges said of the role of those allies. “There aren’t a lot of rules to it.”

The allies are required to attend monthly meetings but can decide how involved they are between those meetings, whether they want to meet with or call the Circle leaders on a more regular basis.

“We do need more allies,” director Jan Hedges said, saying they have about seven or eight signed up right now but need 16. “That is the greatest need right at this minute.”

For those interested in helping, a training session for allies will be held Dec. 8. They are also looking for members of the community who might have an expertise or knowledge they can share with the Circle leaders, such as concerning budgeting, renting homes or other areas.

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