Paula Alter

Paula Alter from NCWorks helps Circle leaders and allies with searching for jobs available in the area.

By Ann Melton, Guest Columnist 


Circles of Jackson County (formerly Circles of Hope) is so blessed to have the support of so many members of our community who give their time and talents to teach a variety of classes for our Circle leaders and Circle learners.

For example, Gayle and Phil Woody spent two Tuesday nights presenting a class on relationships and parenting skills. It was so exciting to see our young couples present at these classes and giving such attention to the words of the Woodys.

Deborah Harris and Wayne Bost spent seven Tuesday nights teaching classes on financial literacy, a subject that we can all benefit from. During the class, the leaders and students discussed such basic topics such as creating a personal spending plan, the importance of saving and how to financially prepare for emergencies. The students were taught about financial institutions, credit unions versus banks and ways to save, even when they don’t have much with which to begin a saving account. They soon learn that every little bit helps, and that one can’t get to $100 in a savings account if one doesn’t begin.

They were taught about a credit report and the importance of knowing what is on one’s credit report, and the benefits of working toward getting their credit score up. They investigated the difference between saving versus investing.

They discussed the length of time one should keep records and the need for knowing where important papers are located. Every night was informative, and the information given was needed.

The list of wonderful classes held at First Baptist Church which have been provided to our Circle leaders continues with Paula Alter coming for three Tuesday nights and presenting classes on Job Link, Rebecca Mathis educating Circle leaders on Blue Ridge Health, Wanda and Charles Wolfe discussing insurance, Cynthia Wray from Western Carolina University teaching soft skills and generational communication skills, Kim Shuler speaking about Jackson County Transit, Danielle Duffy informing our students about voting, Jonathan Bradshaw from WCU teaching writing skills, Lee Lillard from the Health Department teaching about good nutrition, and Wynette Wiles speaking about stress management. These are all topics that everyone can benefit by knowing more about and Circles is so blessed to have so many members of our community who are willing to share.

One evening Dana Tucker taught a class on assertiveness and on another night Carrie McBane and Trevor Gates reported about Down Home North Carolina. Two other classes that were so important were resilience training taught by Lois Deweese and Sierra Womack and another on soft skills/nonverbal communication taught by Lynne Johnson and Marne Harris. We even had a class on giving an elevator speech presented by Susan Waldorf and Tyler Wolf of NCWorks.

Surely no other organization has been so blessed by so many. Our Circle leaders are making great strides due to the work of such wonderful community members as I have named here. Please know that you are welcome to visit Circles of Jackson County any Tuesday night to meet our volunteers and Circle leaders. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m., and classes begin after the meal.

Ann Melton is founder, Circles of Jackson.