Carson City C.I.R.C.L.E.S honors its Getting Ahead graduates

Getting Ahead workgroup graduate Robin Christy speaks on behalf of her class as Carson City Mayor Rober Crowell and Sheriff Ken Furlong look on Wednesday evening.

Getting Ahead workgroup graduate Robin Christy speaks on behalf of her class as Carson City Mayor Rober Crowell and Sheriff Ken Furlong look on Wednesday evening.

Jaedah Andrus admitted she had a misunderstanding of the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Getting Ahead workshop, a 20-week program she and four other graduates completed.

Andrus thought the workshop would be just about nuts and bolts-life skills topics like budgeting. But she found out it was about much more than that.

“It’s shown me more to have faith in myself and to believe in myself to know I can do it,” Andrus said.

While self-confidence was a theme expressed during Wednesday’s graduation ceremony at the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Ormsby Room, just as important was another theme. There’s the term it takes a village. With Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S., it takes a community.

And the five graduates, Andrus, Ardin Chatwood, Robin Christy, Marissa Lucero and Karen Stearns formed a community. Christy, who spoke on behalf of the graduates, demonstrated that sense of community when she asked for a bottle of water to toast her fellow graduates: “To my class, my sisters, I love you.”

Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S is a community-based program in Carson City that assists families living in poverty achieve the goal of self-sufficiency through education and supportive friendships with “Community Allies” — middle-class members from the community.

After completing the workshop, graduates are referred to as Champions for Change and matched with Community Allies to form a “Circle.” Each Circle meets once or twice a month to build friendships and work on the Champions achieving economic self-sufficiency.

Families participating in the program typically take 18 months to 24 months to achieve self-sufficiency. Upon achieving self-sufficiency, participants give back to the community completing the circle.

Andrus is a single mother with a daughter, Amayah, who’s almost 2. Andrus received her GED in 2011 and now has a goal to become a registered nurse.

She works full-time in housekeeping and plans to return to school by the beginning of next year. She will continue to work full-time while she goes to school. “I have to,” she said.

Andrus admitted at first, she’s going to have to take her schoolwork “little by little.”

Christy also talked about how the program’s three facilitators — David Bash, Debe Hays-Vaughn and Marla Morris — helped her.

“They taught me valuable life skills,” she said. “Comprehensive and realistic skills anyone can apply.”

Among those impressed with Christy’s address was Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell.

“You ought to be mayor, that was pretty good,” he said.

The three facilitators also were impressed with their graduates. “I’ve been very impressed with this group,” Bash said. “I want you to know I have great faith you’re going to do great in the future.”

“These graduates have been awesome to work with,” Morris said. “We expect a lot of the participants and they stepped up.”

Hays-Vaughn referred to the graduates as the “Fabulous Five” who “have touched my life and worked my way into my life. You welcomed the challenge.”


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