Circles to End Poverty Consultant Hired for California-Nevada

January 09, 2014

On January 1, the California-Nevada Annual Conference Committee on Children and Poverty began engaging Steve Shaw as a consultant to assist congregations in starting up “Circles” in their communities.
Circles is a national program aimed at ending poverty in America. It has been found to be an effective way for congregations to walk with the poor out of poverty. Poor families receive training and set goals and then receive ongoing friendship, encouragement, and support from community allies who are often trained church members. Circles is a community wide approach that involves a coalition of community groups dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty.
Initiating Circles to end poverty is the major focus of the Annual Conference Committee on Children and Poverty. Carson City, Napa, and the North Coast, (Eureka, Fortuna, Arcata and McKinleyville) are currently initiating Circles in their communities.
Shaw will assist congregations in initiating Circles within their communities, through training and coaching. He will work together with the Conference Committee on Children and Poverty to orient and train churches and communities to complete the initial phase of the Circles process. The first step is for congregations to send representatives to an Orientation and Introduction to Circles in a hands-on experience in Carson City. He is also available to lead Poverty Simulations to build broader community support and workshops to build community coalitions.
Shaw is a licensed social worker with over twenty years of experience in human services.
In the state of Nevada he was the Administrator of the Division of Child and Family Services and was the Deputy Director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Resources. He is active in the Carson City Circles Initiative, (, as an ally and board member. He is an active member of the Carson City First United Methodist Church, a lay member to Annual Conference, and a member of the Conference Committee on Children and Poverty.
A CirclesUSA Regional Training Center is being established in Carson City that will continue to provide the hands-on experience and training for churches interested in initiating Circles.  After four years of successfully building a Circles initiative, Carson City offers a unique view into how Circles works effectively within a community to end poverty.
An orientation and introduction to Circles will take place March 26 and 27 in Carson City. It is recommended that both a pastor and at least one lay person attend. Churches can register through Carson City First UMC, contact Shaw or the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats at (775) 882-1436, or e-mail  CirclesUSA is also an Advance #3021241.