Elites visit A Wider Circle as part of mission to end poverty


Courtesy of A Wider Circle

Men of ELITES posing for a picture after taking a visit to A Wider Circle in Silver Spring MD

In a conscious effort to give back to their community, Watkins Mill’s Elites traveled to A Wider Circle on January 17 to sort through clothing and toy donations, assisting in the push to end poverty. 

A Wider Circle is an organization based in Silver Spring, dedicated to preventing poverty through social programs focusing on the root causes of poverty, such as a need for a self-sustaining economic income, the basic need for household items, and a good quality of life. All of A Wider Circle’s programs and items are free of charge.

A Wider Circle offers refurbished furniture, donated toys, and business attire clothing for those seeking job opportunities. “There are charitable organizations where you can volunteer, but you don’t feel involved in the process,” school counselor and Elites sponsor Mike Ryan said. “[At A Wider Circle, we got] a tour of the process, their mission, and were able to interact with the people who work there. [They told us] how what we were doing [was] directly benefiting other people.” 

The Elites sorted through donations such as clothes and toys, organized truck deliveries, and moved furniture. “It’s always important to give back to your community because your community always gives so much to you,” junior Jonas Clark said. “This project [emphasizes the importance of] giving back to the members of your community, and just trying to level out the playing field.”

“[Young men doing community service] is very important because it gives [us] good morals and [it] builds character,” junior Gabe Valverde added. “Some people need help and they just can’t get [help], for a variety of reasons. So when you can provide that help, I think we should.”

According to the Census Bureau, in 2018 the official poverty rate was significantly lower than in 2007, the most recent recession, at 11.8 percent. “Poverty is a determinant in most people’s lives. Not only is it a setback, but it prevents them [from building] a successful and sustainable life,” sophomore Josh Burgos said. “Helping people in poverty gives them a boost, lets them get past the poverty line, and allows them to build up from there.” 

“There are statistics that show that people who grow up in poverty have higher rates of mental illness, incarceration, drug abuse, [and] alcohol abuse,” Ryan added. “Alleviating those barriers to a person’s full potential is a key to our society thriving. If you eliminate the barriers to someone’s full potential, who can that person really be?”

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