Frequently Asked Questions:
What terminology will be used to describe program roles?
All participants in long-term, wraparound support will be called partners. In common practice, we will not differentiate between the types of partners, as all are important contributors to the process. However, to differentiate when needed, those receiving support will be called core partners and those providing support will be called support partners. The collective group of the core partner and his or her support partners will be a team.
Can anyone be a support partner?
We would love to speak with anyone who is interested in being involved in the program. We do, however, meet with potential support partners prior to inviting them to participate. This initial meeting allows potential support partners and Wider Circle staff to assess whether this program or a different opportunity is the best fit.
When will the program start?
The first cohort of teams was launched on February 20, 2016.
How much time does being a partner take?
To start, teams will be asked to meet once a week. These meetings should last between 30 and 90 minutes.
In addition, we will hold cohort meetings at least twice per month, and we ask that teams send a representative to at least one cohort meeting each month to connect with fellow partners outside their support group. These meetings will range in length, but we expect that each will be at least an hour.
How long of a commitment must I make?
Core partners are committing to a two-year vision and plan for their goals. Our hope is that support partners are there for the team throughout that vision. We anticipate that this period will include one year of stable employment for the core partner. This year is a critical time period for honing effective workplace skills and starting on the path to advancement.
We believe that longer-term relationships will form as a result of these partnerships. While the structure of these relationships may change after two years (e.g., meetings may be held less frequently and staff/peer support may be needed less often), we anticipate that they will continue in an open-ended manner well beyond the first two years.
With whom will I be working?
You will be matched with a core partner and three support partners based on a number of criteria, including geography, family size and composition, scheduling needs, career field of interest, and the fit of the core partner’s stated goals with your areas of interest. What all partners will share will be a readiness and willingness to create real change in their lives.
What kind of support will I be expected to provide? Do I need any special expertise?
Partners do not need to have any specialized expertise beyond what it takes to live an independent life, free of poverty. Specific areas where the support team will be asked to provide guidance will include strategies for success in the workplace, managing a household budget, and pursuing educational and health/wellness-related goals for both children and adults. Of course, an individual’s or family’s goals may include items outside of this list.
We expect that each support partner will focus on a different area but that all goals will be undertaken collaboratively and as a shared learning experience.
Will I receive training to be a partner?
All partners will participate in orientations before the first team meetings. Training for support partners will include introductions to common issues experienced by those in poverty, program goals and expectations, and helpful communication practices. All partners will also receive ongoing support from the Wider Circle staff.
Will I be expected to provide financial support?
No. In fact, partners are discouraged from providing significant monetary support to avoid creating financial issues that interfere with the supportive nature of the relationship.
When a financial need arises, partners will work together to identify and pursue resources to meet the core partner’s need. Wider Circle staff can also provide guidance in these types of situations.
As the partnership progresses, the goal will be to address financial issues less through crisis management and more through long-term planning.
What makes A Wider Circle qualified to provide this programming?
Since its founding in 2001, A Wider Circle has served more than 170,000 children and adults across the greater Washington, DC region. In that time, we have seen how often those we serve are trapped in unsafe, neglected neighborhoods where they have little opportunity to succeed and little exposure to the skills needed to obtain employment and succeed in the workplace. At the same time, we have seen individuals and families rise out of poverty, and we know what is possible when people receive truly comprehensive support.
Over the past 14 years, we have seen up close the types of issues that present as people seek to rise out of poverty, and this has informed our approach – one that addresses the varied experiences of people seeking to become independent.
I want to support this program, but I cannot make that level of commitment right now. Are there other ways for me to help?
Yes! Volunteers will be needed for many different aspects of the program. For example, we may need volunteers to provide babysitting assistance and/or meals for cohort meetings. We may also have one-time events where it would be helpful to have volunteers make a presentation or participate along with the partners.
This program sounds exciting – how can I learn more?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 301-608-3504.