Circle Leader Stories: Meet Amy!
By Erica Maloney
Amy is a 29 year-old single mother who came to Circles nearly two years ago after dropping out of college, unemployed and in financial distress. She had virtually no family supports, and was estranged from her parents who had challenges of their own. Amy knew that she wanted more, but did not know where to start. She arrived at Circles with a friend who encouraged her to come along, and that night she decided that she would sign up and give the Circles training a try.
Initially Amy was very quiet and did not like to share in class, however, as the class progressed she became more comfortable and felt accepted. She began to open up and share her past story, which is heartbreaking. Amy was determined to take control of her future story, and began using the skills and networks that she developed through Circles.
With encouragement from her Circle Coach, she went to a previous employer, McDonalds, and asked to be rehired. She was placed back on the schedule, and in not much time was getting 40 hours per week and working as a shift supervisor.
Amy was happy to be back to work, but knew that McDonald’s was not enough to provide for her family. She talked to her Circle Coach about education, and was referred to Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC) Modern Office Systems Training.
Amy was also paired with an Ally, Debra, who works as an engineer at Westinghouse, and over time they built a very strong relationship. Amy’s Ally helped her with schoolwork and brainstorming solutions to life’s problems, but most importantly, Debra listened and was a friend.
Amy completed her MOST certificate, and then went on to earn an Office Technology Certificate from CCAC, where she continues to work on her Associate’s degree and will graduate this May. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree as well. Amy uses her newfound skills not only to further her career, but also to help others in the Circles program. She is working full time as a manager at McDonald’s, and is working towards her next promotion! The once shy and introverted young woman has grown into an assertive leader in the Circles community, facilitating groups, and giving back to the program. Amy has started her own retirement account, started with the savings that Amy has accrued over the last 2 years! She also celebrated buying a new car this December! Amy looks now towards building her leadership skills and has a personal goal of home ownership! She is now participating in a program in that works in collaboration with Circles, Pitcare in Pitcairn. Pitcare will be working with Amy to achieve a goal of home ownership in the next 2 years.