Friends in Service Helping (FISH) and the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative are excited to announce a more formal relationship and an expanded collaboration. In a time of increased competition for resources, many hard working nonprofits are recognizing the need to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, some donors and social service organizations are coming to the realization promoting client dependency on social programs is a losing proposition both for the service provider and for the recipients of the services.
With the exception of those who are physically or mentally impaired, it’s in the best interests of every adult human being to be as self-reliant as possible. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” It’s in recognition of this philosophy and because of a sense of common purpose FISH and CIRCLES have made a formal commitment to work more cooperatively in the new year to further their mutual mission of promoting self-sufficiency among the people they serve.
While FISH provides emergency services (food, clothing, shelter and medical aid to the homeless and hungry) it also embraces the belief these services, in most cases, shouldn’t continue in perpetuity. Instead it’s their mission to encourage their clients, when ready, to seek a life independent of government subsidies and charitable aid. It’s at this point in the “continuum of services” where CIRCLES steps in. The mission of CIRCLES is to elevate people out of poverty by providing them with the tools they need to chart their own course toward self-sufficiency.
Pursuant to a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations, a greater effort will be made to transition eligible clients of FISH into the CIRCLES program to interrupt chronic cycles of dependency. In addition, CIRCLES will identify clients in their program who would benefit from FISH’s transitional housing program. This will require closer coordination between FISH’s Director of Client Services and CIRCLES’ Program Manager as they work together to identify qualified candidates who are prepared to do the hard work necessary to improve their own circumstances with the aid and encouragement of their community allies.
Author Patricia Sampson perhaps said it best when she wrote “Self-Reliance is the only road to true freedom and being one’s own person is its ultimate reward.” Or, as the old proverb says, “If you give a person a fish, they eat for a day, but if you teach them how to fish, you feed them for a lifetime!”
Jim Peckham is executive director of FISH and Shelly Aldean is president of Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S.