St. Luke's United Methodist Church


8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. - Traditional
9:30 & 11:00 a.m. - Contemporary


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819




The Circles® Campaign is a national transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. The family in poverty is the Circle Leader, setting direction for activities. With the help and friendship of their Allies, each family sets and achieves goals unique to their own needs and skills. The Allies in turn learn about the realities of poverty and barriers that exist for families in poverty. Circle Leaders and Allies work together to better the community while working together on individual goals.

View Our 2017 Circles Orange County Annual Report

Circles Community Overview Information

What is the Circles Concept?

In Circles, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to become economically stable. To accomplish this, we build intentional relationships between people from all walks of life to help individuals build resources to achieve their unique goals and dreams leading to economic improvement. Circles engages entire communities in owning the solution to becoming more economically stable and the issue of poverty by inspiring and equipping families and communities to thrive.

Each Matched Circle consists of an individual working to become more economically stable (Circle Leader) who is matched with two or three middle or upper middle income individuals (Allies). Allies and Leaders agree to become friends, learn from each other, set personal SMART goals, build resources,and impact the community. Weekly Meetings of all the Matched Circles serve several purposes.  

Circles Weekly Meetings provide the following opportunities:

(1) To grow friendships in Circles Overview Modelwhich Circle Leaders and Allies can walk together and thereby support and empower each other to reach individual and self-determined goals for becoming more economically stable one family at a time.

(2) To hear presentations from which the entire Circles community, as well as the local community, can learn.

(3) To address systemic obstacles that keep families trapped in poverty. In short, Circles is a model for family stabilization that also supports community transformation.

Is Circles Right For You?

Wondering if Circles and You are a Right Fit for Each Other?

 Circles Checklist


Check out our Is Circles Right For You overview to consider if Circles is a future potential benefit for you, your family and your community.  

Ally Wondering



Check out examples of Circle Leader Profiles to see how a potential Ally can connect with a potential Circle Leader based on his or her interests, skills and a brief summary of his or her situation. 

How do I Become a Circle Leader?

Becoming a Circle Leader is a Three Step Process that involves the prospective Circle Leader being open and committed to positive change and personal development. Here are the Three Steps:

Step 1: Engage in Training

Potential Circle Leaders engage in Circles Leader Training.  FREE dinner and child/youth care is provided and participants will receive incentives based on their referral source. Graduation from Circle Leader Training is a prerequisite to becoming a Circle Leader but individuals who graduate from the training are NOT required to continue on with Circles. We strongly recommend, however, that graduates continue on with Circles to benefit from the experience of a true and dynamic community, further individual development and easy access to additional tools needed to achieve her or his individual goals.  If you would like to participate in this training, please click on the links below for the Circle Leader Training Class Description and Application.

Circle Leader Training Class Description 2017

Circle Leader Training Application 2017

****The next Circle Leader Training will be October 8th to December 3rd 2017, Sundays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.****

Step 2: Complete the Required Paperwork

Circle Leader WritingOnce you have graduated from the Circle Leader Training and decide that you would like to continue on in Circles as an Circles Leader, you will need to fill out an application and the Circles Commitment Agreement.  After completing these forms, the Circles Coach will work with you to complete the Circle Leader Intake and Progress Report.  All of these forms are available under the Community Member Forms Tab for you to review and print at your convenience.  

Step 3: Get Informed in Orientation

You are almost there!  Once you have completed the Circle Leader Training and all of the required Circle leader paperwork, you will be given a Circles Orientation packet and an overview of the different pieces that come together to make our Circles Orange County site successful for you, your family and your community! 


 CL Questions-Answers

***If you have any concerns or questions about the Circle Leader Training, the required Circle Leader paperwork and/or the Circle Leader Orientation information, please contact Tiffany Kelly***


How do I Become a Circle Ally?

Becoming a Circle Ally is a Three Step Process that involves the prospective Circle Ally being open to increasing his or her understanding of poverty and to personally reflect on how an individual becomes a friend who empowers and supports the Circle Leader on his or her self-directed journey out of poverty. .  Here are the Three Steps:

Step 1: Engage in Training

Becoming a Circle Ally involves engaging in two initial training opportunities:

  • The Cost of Poverty Experience (2 ½ hours)
  • Bridges out of Poverty (4 hours for the introductory course)

There are several other Ally Training courses required to become a Circles Ally.  Each area of training offers insight, fellowship and education on what it means to be an Ally for our Circle Leaders within our Circles Orange County site.  The training helps prospective Allies grow in their capacity to build intentional relationships with Circle Leaders and have a deeper understanding of poverty, as well as, determine whether they are ready to walk alongside the Circle Leader on his or her journey from surviving to thriving! If you find that you are not yet ready or able to fully commit but still want to be involved with Circles Orange County, you also have the option of being an Ad Hoc Ally or a General Volunteer.

Here is a link to a description of each of the required Ally Training: 

Ally Training Descriptions 2017

Step 2: Complete the Required Paperwork

Ally Paper Forms ImageIf you have decided that you are ready to commit to being a Circle Ally, the next step will be reviewing the Circle Ally Job Description and then completing the Circle Ally Application. The Circles Coordinator will be available to support you through the paperwork process and for questions and/or concerns that you may have. These two forms are available under the Community Member Forms Tab for you to review and print at your convenience.

Step 3: Get Informed in Orientation

You are almost there!  Once you have completed the Circle Ally Training and the required Circle Ally paperwork, your application will be reviewed to determine if there is a Circle Ally position available for you. The Circles Coordinator will notify you of the determination. If a position is available, the Circles Coordinator will provide you with the dates, times and location of the Ally Orientation.  During the Orientation, you will be given a packet of helpful information about the Circles model and being an Ally, as well as, an overview of the different pieces that come together to make our Circles Orange County site successful for you, your family and your community! 


 Ally Questions-Answers

***If you have any concerns or questions about the Ally Training, the required Ally paperwork and/or Circle Ally Orientation information, please contact Beth Witten. ***



What does a typical Circles Month Look Like?

Circles meets every Tuesday for the Circles Weekly Meetings.  Each Tuesday has a specific purpose with FREE dinner and a FREE child/youth program.  The specific Tuesday purposes are listed below:

1st Tuesday: Resource Team Meetings

Resource Team Meetings are an opportunity for the whole Circles community to meet in specific Resource team groups to discuss innovative ways to make Circles even better for both Circles member and the surrounding community.  These meetings are NOT OPEN to the Public (Note: Big View Meetings are OPEN to the Public).  For a list of the specific resource teams and their descriptions being offered, click on the “Resource Teams List” link below:

Resource Teams List

2nd Tuesday: FIRST Matched Circles Night

Matched Circles Night are relational and progress focused for both the Circle Leader and their respective Allies.  Leaders and Allies come together and discuss updates on set goals, work on specific group building activities and address any current or new obstacles.  These meetings are NOT OPEN to the Public.

3rd Tuesday: Community Learning  OR  Alternate Leader & Ally Forums

Community Learning Nights are educational and an opportunity for visitors to fellowship with the Circles Community.  Presentations are held by Community Partners, Staff Supporting Circles, Circle Leaders and/or Allies to engage and inform the Circles Community about select individual topics.  These meetings are OPEN to the Public.***

Leader & Ally Forums are when each separate group of Circles Community members (Leaders and Allies) use this time to share concerns, progress and suggestions that are specific to their group/role in Circles.  These Tuesdays can be utilized to have a separate Circle Leader Forum with the Circles Coach and a separate Ally Forum with the Circles Coordinator.  These meetings are NOT OPEN to the Public.

4th Tuesday: SECOND Matched Circles Night

Matched Circles Nights are relational and progress focused for both the Circle Leader and their respective Allies.  Leaders and Allies come together and discuss updates on set goals, work on specific group building activities and address any current or new obstacles.  These meetings are NOT OPEN to the Public.

5th Tuesday: Special Topic Community Night

Special Topic Events are the Tuesdays utilized to strengthen and enlighten the entire Circles Community.  Examples of what a Special Topic Community Night could look like is the Teach/Learn-A-Skill night where members from the Circles Community teach fun and practical skills at various stations where other Circles Community members are able to learn, fellowship and enjoy the mini presentations of their fellow Circles Community members.  These meetings are NOT OPEN to the Public.

***If you wish to visit us on the Tuesday nights that are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, please contact Beth Witten so that we can include you in our dinner and child/youth program count***

Is Circles Working in Our Community?

Community in a Circle

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, FL serves as the Lead Organization for Circles Orange County, the local Circles affiliate.

The inaugural Circles Orange County class officially began their Circles journey in 2014.  Since then, 3 more classes have been integrated into the Circles Orange County community.  In all classes, Circle Leaders, with the support and friendship of dedicated                                               Allies, volunteers and staff, have reached significant goals. 

These goals have been appropriately evaluated from specific data metrics observed by our Circles staff.  Please click the link below to check out and celebrate the data metric achievements for each of our active Circles Orange County Classes:  

Data Metric Achievements 2014-2017

***Please note that Class 4.0 currently has no reportable data to determine any specific data metric achievements, as they are a new class and have not reached their first 6 month reporting period.***

Who is Our Staff Supporting Circles?

Beth Witten, Circles Coordinator 

  • Coordinates the Circle Weekly Meetings, assists the recruitment team in recruiting Circle Allies, trains and provides orientation to incoming Allies, coordinates Circles Match process with Circles Coach and provides Individual Ally/Matched Circle support within the Circles Community.  Click Here to contact.

Tiffany Kelly, Circles Coach                                                

  • Assists the recruitment team in recruiting Circle Leaders, helps train and provide orientation to incoming leaders, coordinates Circles Match process with Circles Coordinator and provides Individual Leader/Matched Circle support within the Circles Community.  Click Here to contact.

Adam Hartnett, Director of Neighborhood Ministries

  • Ground-level liaison between East Winter Garden and St. Luke’s, provides volunteer support and communication, relates to EWG organizations, encourages leadership development of residents, and implements asset-based community development practices.  Click Here to contact.

Sophia Scott, Circles Administrator 

  • Maintains data management in the national and local Circles Databases, provides staff reports/analysis from leader progress reports, maintains Circles website and other social media communications, co-organizes Circle Leader training facilitation and curriculum, organizes Circles office files and file audit processes, maintains knowledge & distribution of community resources and organizes Grant research & writing for Community Transformation programs .  Click Here to contact.

Lynette Fields, Executive Director of Community Transformation

  • Oversees and is responsible for the overall vision and strategy for the St. Luke’s Community Transformation Initiative in East Winter Garden, and serves on the Leadership Team (pastors and Executive Directors) of St. Luke’s.  Click Here to contact.

Circles Community Member Information

Circles Community Resources

The Circles Community Resources have been created by Circles Orange County and are specifically available for Matched Circle Leaders that have been active in Circles for at least 6 months.

Educational Grant Resource

The Circles Education Grant serves to provide a source of financial assistance for Circle Leaders who would like to become further educated or certified to enhance their ability to perform at their current job or to qualify for a new job.  This may include, but is not limited to, funding for tuition, supplies, materials, tools, certification fees, exam fees, etc.  The Circles Education Grant is intended to facilitate efforts of the Circle Leaders to increase their employment or ability to be employed so that they can achieve self-sufficiency.  The availability of this Circles Resource is subject to available funds.

To apply, click on the application below, complete and return to the Circles Staff for consideration:

Educational Grant Application 2017

Short-Term Emergency Loan Resource

The Circles Short-Term Emergency (STE) Loan serves to provide a source of interest-free financial assistance for Circles participants when other community resources are unavailable or impractical for the situation.  This may include, but is not limited to funding for home maintenance, car repairs, medical expenses not covered by insurance, etc.  This is intended to support Circle Leaders in their efforts to avoid moving into further crisis and a downward spiral, so that they can achieve self-sufficiency.

To apply, click on the application below, complete and return to the Circles Staff for consideration:

Short-Term Loan Application 2017

Credit Restoration Loan Resource

The Circles Credit Restoration (CR) Loan serves to provide a source of low interest financial assistance for Circles participants to achieve debt consolidation, to improve credit scores and/or to access lower interest financing for larger purchases. This is intended to assist Circle Leaders in acquiring needed goods or services that will increase household income or reduce debt so that they can achieve economic stability.

To apply, click on the application below, complete and return to the Circles Staff for consideration:

Credit Restoration Loan Application 2017

Non-Circles Community Resources


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