Article Published: Sep. 12, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 12, 2013
A new poverty elimination initiative and self-help program
at the Hospitality House of Boone is working to end the cycle of dire economic conditions in the
Circles of the High Country is part of a larger national initiative
that engages participants in a 16-week program that gives them the tools and resources to help them
pull themselves out of poverty, said Chatty Majoni, Growing Places coordinator at Hospitality
“We want to change perceptions at the community level, reduce
barriers encountered by people trying to move out of poverty and create new policy at the local,
state and national levels that demonstrably enhances opportunities for citizens to become
self-sufficient,” Majoni said. “Finally, and significantly, we want to create new relationships
across racial and economic boundaries.”
At the conclusion of each class,
participants are paired up with two or three mentors to help them build what Majoni calls “social
By doing so, participants can learn tips and pointers for
polishing their résumés, how to land interviews and make new professional
The first class is scheduled to graduate next week, and plans
are already under way for enrollment in a second class, Majoni said.
hope to match them with mentors by early October,” Majoni said. “We hope to do four classes a
She said there have already been “numerous success stories” that have
emerged from the inaugural class.
“We’ve seen five (members) get employment;
others have gotten out of debt and even opened bank accounts,” Majoni said. “It has been really
eye opening to see how far they’ve come in the first 16 weeks, and they haven’t even got their
The demographics of the first class have covered a “wide range” of
the spectrum, Majoni said.
The participants range from 19 to 50 years of
age. Some are single mothers. Others are recovering addicts. Approximately half of the membership
comes from Hospitality House’s transitional program or live, at least, 200 percent of the poverty
“This is an incredibly diverse group of individuals working toward
the common goal of getting out of poverty,” Majoni said.
In the future,
Hospitality House hopes to expand the program to Avery and Ashe
“We will work with agencies and local churches to get referrals,
find meeting places and start from scratch,” Majoni said.
To learn more
about Circles or how to get involved, call Majoni at (828) 264-1237 or check out one of several
scheduled info sessions listed below.
• Monday, Sept. 16, 8 a.m. at Local
• Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. at Bald Guy Brew, King Street
• Wednesday, Sept. 18, 5
p.m. at Stick Boy Kitchen
• Thursday, Sept. 19, noon at Farm Café
Sept. 20, 5:30 p.m. at Low Bar
• Saturday, Sept. 21, 4 p.m. at Sweet