Success Stories About Our Circle Leaders

Success Stories from 2014 Class

Success Stories from 2012 Class

Success Stories from 2011 Class

Success Stories from 2010 Class

Graduation Photos


Success Stories from 2014 Class

Latosha's Story

My name is Latosha Moore. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My childhood family consisted of a mother, father, two older brothers, and a younger sister. My parents did not get along and argued a lot. They were financially unstable, despite the fact that they worked a lot. My siblings and I spent the majority of our time at our grandmother's house. At home there were many times we went without lights, water, and sometimes food. Our grandmother and uncles provided our clothing and Christmas until I was able to provide for myself.

At 20 years of age, I became pregnant. My son, Denim, arrived after I turned 21. When he was nine months old, we were homeless for two weeks after I left my son's father. My brother's friend took my son and me in.

 I have worked at various fast food restaurants to provide for my son. I don't want my son to ever go without the necessities. I work hard to ensure that he doesn't have to go without. Sometimes I do, but I refuse to let him go without.

I live at Riverview Heights apartments I continue to struggle but I have learned how to make positive decisions and have changed my circle of friends to a more positive group. Circles is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is an encouraging place with lots of concerned and friendly people.  I have developed leadership skills through my time as a Circle Leader. I am serving on the Board of Directors and lead the Guiding Coalition.

If you are living in poverty, I know it is hard but if you stay focused and determined, you will make it. You are not alone.

Renee's Story

When you hear someone described as a ‘single mother’ the thoughts that most likely come to your mind are ‘hard life’, ‘brave’, ‘uphill battle’, and ‘alone’ etc… However, when Renee Shumate single mother of two hears those words she thinks of it as just one more challenge that she has not only identifies with but one that she succeeds at quiet well.  While some people may see this as a daunting task that would be too much to handle, Renee simply views it as another hurdle in life to clear.  Renee is no stranger to challenges she has been faced with a plethora of them the majority of her life and being a single parent is only one hat that she wears.  Ms. Shumate has struggled with self-esteem issues stemming from her ongoing battle with obesity throughout her life.  The obesity has not only been an emotional strain for her but it has plagued her life with numerous health issues as well.  Dealing with the ongoing pressures from the emotional roller coaster and physical limitations that her condition placed upon her, Renee vastly begin to feel overwhelmed and in the need of an intervention in a big way.  In November 2013 Renee decided she was done allowing the previously mentioned circumstances dictate how she would live her life so she started the necessary steps to make a change.  It was shortly after meeting with Greta Ferguson, Wilkes Circles Job Coach and discussing the ‘Circles of Care’ program that she was determined that this would be the first step in her journey to recreate her life.  From the start it was easy to see that Ms. Shumate would be one of the most eager, loyal, and dependable participants in the program.  Renee attended the program weekly with the determination to use the new skills acquired to build a foundation that could withstand any storms of life.   After completing the program Renee knew the second step to recreating her life wouldn’t be possible without building a healthy circle of friends, allies and natural supports to strengthen the new foundation that was laid by the principles of ‘Circles’.  A logical way to start this task was for Ms. Shumate to join the ‘Parent to Parent support group at Skyview Family Investment.  It wasn’t long before Renee’s determination, enthusiasm, and leadership were noticed within the group and she was asked to complete the Parent to Parent training program at Appalachian.  Ms. Shumate successfully completed the training obtaining her certification to facilitate the program she was once a participant in.  The third and what would prove to be one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish was to seek gainful employment.   Renee has always had a passion to work with children and when the opportunity arose to become the Childcare Facilitator for the Wilkes Child Abuse Prevention team she jumped at the chance.  Coupled with her employment at Appalachian Ms. Shumate is well on her way to accomplishing the goals she originally set forth at Wilkes Circles of Care.  When you see Renee today you see a proud mother of two beautiful kids that welcomes the challenges that life throws at her with a smile and a new found confidence that she can handle any situation that comes her way. 




Success Stories from 2012 Class

Our third class from the Circles program designed to aid  individuals who have made a commitment to change their lives by learning the skills necessary to move from their families from the patterns of a lifestyle in poverty has graduated. They have learned the hidden rules and have forged relationships with middle class individuals who are walking with them through this transition. At this point, incomes have doubled, savings have increased, all have GED’s or are involved in completing it, several have completed programs at WCC and 2 have completed 4 year programs. Dependence on public assistance has been reduced by 30%.

These are some of the stories of success experienced since the program started in 2010.

We have recently started our fourth class. We are funded by donors like you who can help up keep the dream going and help individuals and families climb out of the pain of poverty. This program is not a hand-out but rather a joining together of neighbors to help our brothers and sisters in need.

We invite you to “come and see” on a Thursday night at 5:30. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to join us in walking hand in hand with our neighbors.

Wilkes Circles of Care, Inc. is funded by grants, corporations, private contributions and in kind support from private volunteers and partner agencies. Will you help us continue this effort by making a financial commitment? Your response to this request can make a difference in the heart of this community. 




Success Stories from 2011 Class

Out of 12 students...

2 have paid off three credit cards and closed the accounts

1 has written a college profile on Circles of Care and on childhood poverty and is now interested in pursuing a degree in that area

7 indicated that they are learning how to manage their finances/learning how to budget

2 have paid off a loan

1 has obtained full time job

1 has opened a bank account for the first time

1 has been approved for the full amount of financial aid to start the Criminal Justice Program at WCC this fall

1 has spoken to her advisor to go back and continue her education as a veterinarian assistant

2 have started a savings account

1 couple paid off their mobile home

1 bought a truck for work

1 returned a computer to the rent to own store and saved up and bought a refurbished computer

1 couple indicated that they are on the same page for the first time when it comes to their finances

4 indicated that their attitude towards life is better

3 spoke about how the hidden rules have helped them to understand, "why I am where I am"

1 indicated that the Circles group is his family and they can lean on each other when they need each other

1 indicated that she has more self respect and that she is proud of herself.


Success Stories from 2010 Class

Since May 2010, out of th 14 Circle Leaders...

6 are now employed, been promoted, or are have better paying jobs

8 have enrolled in classes pertinent to their goals

3 have paid off credit cards or payday loans

4 have opened an emergency savings account

7 have completed personal goals

10 have given back to their community

14 have increased their social capital by meeting with their Allies

As of January of 2011...

2 promotions, one has obtained PT job

1 has applied for a principal fellows scholarship to become a school administrator

2 have successfully completed another semester at the community college

1 to graduate from WCC this May

2 have one test left to complete their GED.

1 is enrolled in last class to graduate with an Adult High School Diploma

1 has received their driving permit and is in line for a donated vehicle

1 has received much needed medical support which has helped reduce the financial and emotional stress in her present situation

3 have stepped up and taken leadership responsibilities within our local initiative

3 have begun seeing professional counselor to address personal and family issues


3 have given to the initiative by helping in Poverty Simulations workshops and speaking about the reality of poverty and the Circles campaign

8 have shared their story of what Circles means to them at a "Come and See" Event to promote Circles

1 is giving time by cleaning and moving furniture for our new space

1 is providing childcare supervision so Circle Leaders can study uninterrupted

After five months of being matched with allies, all 14 Circle Leaders are active in their Circles; genuine friendships are developing and trusting relationships of mutual respect are being established.

As of March 2011...

1 has enrolled in a CNA class through Wilkes Community College and will finish in April with an "A" average

1 will graduate with AHSD in April

1 received his GED

4 have applied for financial aid to attend WCC in the fall

1 got his driving permit

2 purchased a car and car insurance

2 got off work first - 1 got a job

1 got a full time job

1 paid off her car loan and has her own auto insurance

1 got a home mortgage

1 got needed dental work

1 has saved money for a down payment for dental work

1 enrolled in HOLA (program for Spanish Speaking individuals)

1 is working as a translator in the school system

1 family received a slot for the community garden

3 are working in leadership in our Circles Initiative

1 has completed her business plan and is actively working in her hair braiding business

1 was nominated for teacher of the year

1 has been promoted to an assistant store manager after being employed for 12 years in the same place

1 has started CRC training at Job Link

1 started a new career in welding and has already been promoted

1 started a money market account with $500.00

1 has paid off a payday loan

1 has begun divorce proceedings