Describe what your organization does, especially the main issue or problems it addresses:

The Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries (ABCCM) is beginning a new phase of the Our Circles program. The young parents we will be working with are ages 16-24, (mothers, fathers, or both, who have custody of their child[ren]) who are living at 200% of the poverty level or below. The aim of the program is to help the parents further their education and training in order to get better paying jobs. The hope is that with further education and help from the ABCCM Circles Staff and the Asheville-Buncombe County community they will then be able to provide for their families without having to rely on public assistance.

What types of service-learning opportunities do you have for students:

Allies (Mentors)

Being an Ally would require an initial 8 weeks of training (once per week for a couple of hours each session). Then there will be a 12 to 18 month commitment, during which time we will be having regular meetings with all Allies and "Circle Leaders" (young parents) so everyone can get together and fellowship around a meal. These meetings will allow everyone to continue to get to know each other, build lasting bonds, and to check in with each other. Allies are encouraged to meet with their Circle Leaders as often as they can (via phone, email, or face-to-face) up to 6 hours per month. There will also be regular meetings for just the Allies to meet with a Coach (a Circles staff member). Allies are not supposed to be there to "fix" any problems, act as social workers or provide any monetary assistance. Allies are only supposed to support the Circle leaders through encouragement, prayer, and offering any networking opportunities (if those arise).

Meal Preparation/Delivery

If you do not feel that mentoring is something you can commit to, we are also looking for groups/teams to prepare and deliver meals for our training sessions and Community Meetings. Our group sizes vary (15 – 40 people), but if you are interested in preparing a meal for us one time or on a regular basis, we would love to use your talents.


Childcare Volunteers: Tuesday and Thursday evenings 330-630pm. Assists childcare workers in working with children while parents attend job readiness programs. Leading programs like art, creative play, and serving dinner to children ages 0-5.


Some of our young parents bring their infants with them to training so we need caring people willing to pick the parents and their infants up at the bus station (Downtown on Coxe Avenue) and drive them down to our office at 207 Coxe Avenue and/or take them back to the bus station at the end of their training times.Must provide proof of liability insurance and a valid driver’s license.

Data Entry Volunteers

Build your work skills and resume by learning Raisers Edge, a common program used to track volunteer hours and donations at many non-profits. Enter volunteer hours and other key program information once per week during flexible hours M-Th 8-6pm.

Special Event Coordinators

We are hosting a Cost of Poverty Experience October 22, 2013 and need a TEAM of bright individuals to pull together all of the necessary resources for this event to be successful. Tasks include; event coordination, scheduling, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and more.

How do you envision students learning and growing from their involvement? Can you envision any ties to their academic work :

The goal of our program is to end poverty one family at a time. In order to do that, we must build relationships between members of our community. Building friendships is something that can be transformational - changing both parties involved. Working with a diverse group of people is a skill that can be useful in any career, as can relationship building - a very important skill to have in today's society.

Poverty is something that reaches out to more and more people these days. It affects all aspects of our society and could be something that could be discussed in many different courses - from business to social work.

Will you train students? Supervise them? If so, please explain how:

We will train any students who want to join us and they will be well-supervised. Depending on the opportunity a student wishes to take on will determine how much supervision is needed. If they are providing childcare or providing a meal, there will be less supervision needed. If anyone would like to be a mentor, supervision will be more involved. Students who choose to be mentors will have bi-weekly meetings with one of the Our Circle program staff. If weekly meetings are preferable, we can make that happen also. We will also have monthly Community Meetings where all Circle Leaders and Allies will come together to discuss important issues.

Scheduling could be an important issue. Please note the available times students could work with your organization:

Times will vary depending on each training group. Currently our training sessions are in the evenings between 4-6 or 5-7, but we can work with availability of the student, depending on which of our opportunities they choose to take on.

Is there a minimum number of hours you require of students in a semester? Do you require or ask students to stay longer than a 15-week semester:

There is no minimum. Volunteers can choose to work with us one time or several times a month or even weekly. If a student wants to be a mentor, we do ask for a 12 month commitment, but that is the only time constraint we ask for - all other opportunities can be as often or as little as one is able to do.

UNCA has a new academic honor called Community Engaged Scholars in which students complete a Public Service Project. Those projects sometimes involve research requested by the community. Likewise, the university has Service- Learning Designated Courses, and sometimes in those courses professors are looking for research projects for their students.

Possible examples of such projects include needs or strengths assessments, which community organizations may want to do but lack time or expertise to undertake. Or organizations may want to collect data to determine the effects of a program they are conducting. If you have such a project(s) that students or a class could help you with, write it (them) here, or write "none":

None right now, but we are open to suggestions from students.

To get involved, please contact:

Julia Dearing
Volunteer Recruiter
(317) 468-5194

ABCCM - Our Circle Program
207 Coxe Avenue