Why I got into the Loop with ‘Mon Valley Circles’?

Mon Valley Circles brings people together by helping communities and individuals thrive.

Christina Jeter

I was working temp jobs and restless of living with others and never being able to afford my own place, then I was informed about Mon Valley Circles by a co-worker. With weekly meetings being held throughout Pittsburgh, I decided to attend one of the sessions. On my first visit, I was greeted by Erica Maloney, a social worker, and Circles Program Coordinator. (Circles Leaders are participants who have completed the training and are working towards their goals) who instructed me on what serves Mon Valley Circles provides and how they would go about helping me achieve my goals.

Mon Valley Circles will help with housing (apartment or house), resume (new or update), child care, budget management, school enrollment (financial aid), employment placement, and just about anything else you need. The Mon Valley name of the establishment derives from the Monongahela, colloquially “Mon City”, which is a City in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States and is part of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Add that to the word circles definition, “moves so that its distance from a given point is constant, so it’s no wonder Mon Valley Circles assist people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to motivate individuals & families out of poverty.

Mon Valley Circles really helped me in a crisis, as I filled out the standard paperwork that included requested information about me. I was also provided with a free meal, that is served at every weekly meeting. Then I met with the other patrons that regularly attend and got a feel for what to expect from the gathering. I was excited that I made the first step to join and eagerly looked forward to my next visit because one of the many other perks of this group service is that it provides free childcare (even though I don’t have children) and you can earn weekly points to cash out for just about any retailer such as Wal-Mart, Uber and etc.

The itinerary for the weekly meetings may vary depending on location but mine included, signing in, introducing yourself then sharing something new about your week, working on the scheduled task for the week, which was setting goals for yourself with worksheets that ask you to detail out how you will go about achieving that accolade. Every week the assignment changes to help you reach your full potential and get the most out of the program.

In over the last year, about 35 families participated, and the average income increase was around 95% for people who participated for at least 3 months.

To find a ‘Circles’ near you, please visit their website.