Social isolation and the lack of social support are barriers to getting out of poverty. People get stuck in poverty partly because it creates what Paulo Freire calls “the tyranny of the moment.” When an individual is focused on simply surviving and the pressing needs of the day require immediate responses, they are forced into the tyranny of the moment. Poverty becomes self-perpetuating, in part, because people cannot get out of crisis mode long enough to plan for the future.
Circles of Support - Community Engagement is a high-impact strategy designed to help struggling families and community partners understand the differences between personal and systemic barriers. At the heart of our strategy is the Getting Ahead-Duluth program. Getting Ahead works with struggling families who are either moving off of public assistance to employment, or families spiraling from the middle class into poverty. The second aspect of the strategy is the Race Awareness Workshop, designed to educate the business and education sectors about race and advocate for increased opportunities for all people. The final component to our strategy is our Big View Community Forum. This is the place where systemic change occurs! Big View Forums are a monthly series of community meetings designed to bring people together across race and class lines to find solutions to end poverty in our community.