Carlo’s Story

Born and raised in Springfield, Ohio, my siblings and I suffered a lot of physical and mental abuse. When I was 4 years old, my mother left my father and the abusive situation and we became homeless. She tried to provide for us, but being a single mother with a limited amount of positive relationships, eventually we kids were placed in foster care.
Throughout most of my childhood, I harbored resentment towards my parents for the way my life was going. Growing up this way doesn’t carry labels, it’s just LIFE. It was a journey to realize how hard it must have been for my mother to make survival decisions and to rely on others to raise her own children; she did the best she could for us. Throughout my process I have been learning to put that into perspective.
Circles® has given me a way to break out of the isolation of poverty and to find my voice. For the first time, there were and still are people in my life who grew up in a different environment than mine. They have become friends, not just acquaintances.
My world opened up too when Getting Ahead classes led to a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader. Over the past three years, I have been able to step back, see my life and find true purpose. Now I live in a community home that works directly with poverty-related issues in my neighborhood. It is an honor to be a Circle Leader, a Getting Ahead Facilitator, a certified Bridges Out of Poverty Trainer, and be on the local and national Guiding Coalition for Circles®.
I truly believe that because of Circles® I will never go back to square one again. What the future has in store for me is unclear, but whatever it is, I found a path to be passionate about!
— Carlos Guajardo

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