Last week, The Ember Cast had the honor of facilitating a service experience for the junior honor society of a local private school, our first ever school group client. We took this opportunity to work with A Wider Circle, a nonprofit based in Silver Spring, whose purpose is to break the cycle of poverty one family at a time. In the past few years, I've had a number of people mention how great A Wider Circle is, and they were all correct, I was super impressed.
A Wider Circle runs four programs: a furniture and clothing donation distribution program, a workforce development program [interviewing, resumes, free professional clothing], wrap around support [pair 4 families not in poverty to a family struggling for a support network], and neighborhood partnerships. Their typical customer is a single parent with 3 kids living on $12K a year, they serve between 20-30 clients a day, they have 60 full time staff, they partner with over 300 other nonprofits and government agencies in the DMV, and they average 200 volunteers every weekend - a huge operation.
Our time there was spent helping with the Neighbor to Neighbor program, the furniture and clothing distribution aspect of their service. Our kids did lots of work including cleaning up a pantry section, sorting boxes of books, and moving and cleaning houseware products. Although we didn't have any direct contact with their customers, our work was planting a stake in the future - we served someone we hadn't met...yet. Ember is grateful for the chance to spur on these students for a future that they shape and mold through their service and character.