Adrienne Camel

Her thoughts shared at her graduation

"I think the best thing that I got out of Circles was Friendships. We've built relationships that are above and beyond Circles. I know that Kim, Dora, and Shirley have an unconditional friendship for me — that they will love me regardless of set-backs and will always cheer my successes.

While we were working together as a Circle, it meant a lot to me that my allies were someone to talk to who would not be judgmental. I knew they would not be quick to criticize, and so I could really share where I was.

When we first met, my top three goals were:

1. Fix my credit.
2. Own my own home.
3. Do more with my kids monetary wise (childhood memories and vacationing, etc.).

And I have accomplished all of those goals! And it feels wonderful. When I started, it felt like it would take forever. But now, looking back, it really wasn't that long at all. For example, I was working on my credit last summer (July), I put in an application for a Homeownership loan thru USDA in November, I got approved in February but had to wait for my certificate which came in April to start looking for a home, and I closed on my own home in July of this year — not even a year to buy a home for myself and my children! I feel that if your mind and actions are joined, you can get there.

During the time I've been in Circles, I've really changed how I go after what I want. I don't think my priorities have really changed — I want to take care of my children — but how I go after what I want has changed.

For example, my budgeting is totally different. Now, I look ahead and know that if I want to get my mortgage paid on time, I'm going to have to set aside the money and not use it the way I might have in the past. Just the other night, the kids asked to go out for Chinese food, and I said, "we've got food at home." Not that we're not going to go out, but we're not going to go out just because I have money in my pocket at that moment and there is simple food to make at home. I have to plan where all my money goes to meet the goals want and its continuous now that I have more responsibilities.

The larger change is now I know what actions to take to get what I want. It's one thing to say, "Oh someday I want to have this or do that." But you have to back it up with actions. I can start with the goal and see all the steps I need to take to get there. And now I have confidence that I can make it to the goal, because I've achieved some big dreams that I had for myself.

Even the successes along the way make it easier to keep going. When I was working on building my credit score, it was so great to see my credit score jump up that it kept motivating me to do more. And having my allies checking in, kept me on track. Plus, it was satisfying to report back to them on my progress.

I think I've changed a lot during the time I was in Circles. I've grown up, and I have a mindset that I'm going to do what I need to do take care of my home and my children in the way that I want.

I'd like to say Thank You to my allies. I really value the friendships that we have — you are my Al team, my angels. And I know our friendship won't end just because we're not meeting as a Circle anymore.

I'm grateful that each of you supported my goals, and helped me move forward to achieve them. I'm not going to stop making new dreams or making them come true, and I look forward to sharing my success with you in the future."

Reducing Poverty One Family at a Time!