Circles Parternships with Crossnore School and Blue Ridge Academy are Proving Successful

Published Monday, March 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

Circles of the High Country, a dynamic anti-poverty initiative of Hospitality House, is helping Avery County teens and young adults gain the knowledge, resources and relationships they need for a bright future outside of the cycle of poverty.

Recent graduates of the Crossnore School

Recent graduates of the Crossnore School

“For kids growing up in and around poverty the challenges of moving up the socio-economic ladder are many,” states Chatty Majoni, Circles of the High Country program coordinator. “Circles offers insight into social norms, lessons in life skills, and education in relationships and networking that will enable them to move up a couple of rungs before they’re even out on their own.

Currently, Circles works with both Blue Ridge Academy and Crossnore School to reach at-risk young people.  The program begins with a twelve week class titled ‘The R Rules’ which helps students investigate, build and self-analyze the resources they need to get ahead in life.

From there students continue with weekly support meetings that focus on the specific needs and interests of those in the group.  Finally, the students are paired with an ally – a community member who agrees to build an intentional relationship with the participant in order to help grow resources, expand networks and build bridges to a more stable future.

Since beginning the Avery County program a little over a year ago, a combined twenty-two students have graduated from classes at Blue Ridge Academy and Crossnore School.

Recently asked what she had learned from Circles one student replied, “Life is hard. But thanks to Circles I feel less afraid now of being an adult.”

“I really appreciate Circles taking the time to teach us the things we need to know to be okay when we are on our own,” echoed another teenager.

The feeling of importance is rare for many people living in the cycle of poverty; something that is often amplified in foster children. “Chatty made sure our questions were answered and that we felt important, like our opinions mattered” stated one recent graduate.

Majoni states that, “Once you offer these kids the chance to ask questions and feel heard, you find that they are dedicated to learning and focused on preparing for the future.  It’s such an easy thing to offer, with so much benefit.”

Circles is always on the lookout for new allies. If you are interested or have questions about becoming an ally contact Chatty Majoni at 828-264-1237 ext. 115 or [email protected].

To learn more about Circles of the High Country, visit them online at, and follow them on Facebook/HighCountryCircles. To learn more about Hospitality House, visit them online at and follow them on Facebook/HospHouse and Twitter @HospHouseBoone.

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