Oxford County Circles

Oxford County Circles

Leaders - Testimonials

The Getting Ahead program helped me in so many ways. Learning about poverty and the impacts it can have on people was really enlightening, and helped me to reflect on my own life. The self-discovery portion of this program helped me discover where my strengths and weaknesses are, and showed me how to identify which areas of my life I needed to focus on and improve. When we worked on identifying the areas in which we were strong, I felt really empowered and proud. Getting Ahead helped me form plans on where I want to be and how to get there. Instead of just dreaming about my future, I was able to make a detailed, step-by-step map to achieve it. I also learned some helpful strategies to get me through the process.

One of the most important steps for me was taking care of my mental health. I always felt like I had so much to do that I never had time to focus on myself. Getting Ahead showed me that because I wasn’t focusing on my mental health, it had become one of the biggest factors that was impacting my chaotic and disorganized life.

Getting Ahead also introduced me to a community of people with similar struggles. This was really eye-opening for me, as it showed me that I am not alone. The discussions we would have in class were amazing. Being able to connect with someone's story because you've been there, and having someone else connect with your story and say, "I've dealt with that too", is such a comfort. We listened to each other, offered support and advice, and validated each other. It was a really powerful experience.

At the end of the Getting Ahead program, I had a clear picture of myself and my life, and the knowledge and strength to go forward with my steps. It was as if the puzzle pieces of my life started falling into place, forming an organized picture that I can understand and make sense of.

The lives of people on Ontario Works, Disability, and in subsidized housing, would improve greatly by having the opportunity to participate in the Getting Ahead program. Then, they too can see that they don’t have to settle for just getting by, they can get ahead, too.

I found myself in a situation where I had no child care in place for my children. I was searching for options and solutions but was met with barrier after barrier. My employer had stopped helping me, and soon I lost my job. I turned to Ontario Works, as I couldn’t pay rent and was still job searching. Oxford County Human Services and my Client Service Worker assisted me and my children with housing and financial support. I was able to continue to work off and on, but still had no luck with permanent employment. I was then referred to the Getting Ahead program, where I learned a lot of things about poverty and how to deal with a variety of situations in society. This was an opportunity that allowed me to see how I have the potential to get out of poverty with the support of others. As a single father, Circles seemed like a great option for me to continue with my journey.

Since joining Circles Oxford County, I have improved my education and started a path with the Canadian Armed Forces. I successfully passed the assessment testing, as well as the physical testing, with the support of my new friend and Ally, Angela, and her family. I have met new friends and supporters within the Circle, and my children have as well. We have had family dinners, learned to sew with another Ally, and built meaningful relationships. My goals now are to continue with my path of education and future employment with the Canadian Armed Forces, to someday own my own home, and to be able to return to the Circle as an Ally for a future leader someday.

A.W. Current Circles Leader

The whole time I was married to my husband I considered myself to be middle class but I was just living as part of the working or debt poor. When I graduated from the Getting Ahead program, they asked me if I wanted to move on to the Circles program because I was ready. Me, Circles ready? I have waited for so long for someone to believe in me, and now finally someone sees me. I guess everything happens for a reason, when it is supposed to happen.

Little did I know the Circles members would all become my new family. I was very nervous for my first day, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was all a bit of a blur because I was still a bit numb from life. However, I will never forget my second Circles get together. I finally saw how beautiful it was, to sit in a circle and share with each other our goals. Together, we made vision boards of how we want to see ourselves and what we want to see in our future. I still have my vision board hanging on my bedroom wall, because these moments are so meaningful to me. Slowly we have all gotten to know each other and support one another.

Circles has allowed me to reach goals I never thought I could, like being hired by Thames Valley District School Board, and is helping me work towards my long-time goal of having a rescue therapy farm. Circles has shown me that no matter what your goal is, you can achieve it. If you can put out the effort and together we will help each other achieve those goals. Maybe even one day I can become an Ally and help someone who has lived in similar situations.

Giving up is never an option. I am so thankful that my journey led me to Circles because it changed my life. I no longer feel the darkness, I feel gratitude, and all it took was for someone to believe in me and give me a chance.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” - Eckhart Tolle

Current Circles Leader

Getting Ahead planted a seed that helped me embrace therapy, and therapy helped me breathe new life inside myself. Now, Circles is the push that keeps me moving forward.

In the last year, I have been able to make so many improvements for myself and my children. I am successfully living on my own as a single parent. My children and I have moved into the nicest home we have ever lived in, where we are able to breathe easy and continue to heal. I have finally been able to focus on completing my high school education, and I am planning on continuing by going to college after that. I’m even studying to get my driver’s license, and all of these things are helping me figure out what I want to do with my life.

I have this incredible feeling inside every day, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. I finally have hope for the future, peace within myself, and happiness like I've never known.

Circles Leader
Allies Testimonials

“I joined Circles because I wanted to see the strength of an inclusive community. One of the challenges in our society is that people are not being properly heard or understood by one another. Circles Oxford County has shown me that we can learn to communicate better with each other, and that when we do, we will all be stronger and more caring because of it. I can't wait to see our Circle grow and turn more neighbours from all walks of life into friends.”

Scott - Current Circles Ally