Click on this video for a June 2, 2016 Eye On Oshkosh interview with Circles of Support regional director Anne Strauch.
Circles of Support started in 2006 as the result of a committee of concerned community members and modeled after a successful re-entry program in Ohio.
Beginning as a grassroots effort, Circles now includes the Fox Valley, Green Bay and Oshkosh.
In late 2007, Circles joined Goodwill Industries NCW and hired its first program coordinator. From six clients in 2006, Circles now serves between 200 and 300 newly released ex-offenders per year and, working with other providers, contributes to an 80% plus success rate of participants. This translates into safer communities and a tax savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
Volunteers are provided with extensive training and come from all walks of life and are widely diverse in age and experience. Our volunteers truly represent the community!
Circles of Support partners with Goodwill NCW, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the Salvation Army, Solutions Recovery Center, several churches, ESTHER, and many other agencies in our community to help our participants succeed.
The mission of Circles of Support is to provide recently released prisoners with a support network of local volunteers (a Circle) that provides guidance, and direction to the offender in all areas of his/her life employment, education, and social. The idea is that this elevated level of support will help the person more effectively transition back into the community thereby reducing the likelihood that he/she will re-offend.
Circles meetings convene weekly. For guidelines and principles on Circles groups, click here.
Volunteers (V) meet with Participants (P) either in a group setting or individually. Individual support meetings are arranged as needed.
Circles of Support provides:
- Pro-social support
- Individual and group support
- Identifying and breaking down barriers to success
- Resource linkage
- Temporary job slots with Goodwill
- Transportation, determined by need