April 2018 marked the start of "Full Circle", a special program series for Anawim program tenants that has been created by our Supportive Services and Programs team. The selected participants are those that are most in need of support as they adjust to housing, as well as those who have been successful long-time program participants who have a lot to offer in terms of advice and positive connections.
Below is an excerpt from our 2018 Fall Newsletter, written by Anawim program manager Hannah Landgraf sharing about Full Circle.
Written by Hannah Landgraf, Anawim Housing Sr. Program Manager
Home is everything at Anawim Housing and the staff that manage our permanent supportive housing programs are taking that motto to heart by cultivating a spirit of home that goes beyond a physical structure.
Each Friday, the lower level of our office turns from conference room to community room. We share a meal, we share stories, we build relationships, and we welcome providers and professionals from around Des Moines to share resources, tools and practices that help our tenants build happier, healthier, less isolated lives.
This space is called Full Circle. Since its inception in April 2018, it has become a place for tenants to connect, grow, learn, and work together toward self-sufficiency.
At Anawim, we understand that move-in day is only the beginning of our work. Some of our program tenants have left behind homeless campsites where they had developed close relationships in order to survive. Some don't have close relationships - they lack a safety net, or their relationship with family is strained or broken. The joy of move-in day can unexpectedly turn into social isolation and loneliness for some.
The tenants who gather for Full Circle named the group themselves. Fred Van Liew, a founder of Anawim Housing, and regular facilitator of Full Circle, provided inspiration for the name after initiating the group process of deep listening to help build trust. "Revelations made in the circle educate both listeners and storytellers. A collective courage emerges," says Fred.
On the weeks that Fred joins us, he helps us cross the threshold - from chaos to connection and self-reflection. Other guests have included art therapists, police officers, and financial planners to offer their guidance. Tenants have practiced chair yoga and learned about programs and events across the city.
Moving homes consistently ranks on top lists of most stressful life events and that's especially true for Anawim Housing tenants. Full Circle seeks to be a space to build trust and community amidst that stress.
Over the last few months, we've seen participants come full circle - we've heard them tell stories of hardship and home, we've seen long standing tenants share wisdom with new tenants and we've watched individuals take on leadership roles within the group. Over the next few months we hope to grow the number of participants who gather each Friday. We believe Full Circle is creating a spirit of home where our tenants can develop skills and connections to lead happier, healthier, more stable lives. In the words of one participant, "I look forward to Full Circle all week. It is nice to have something to look forward to."
We are always looking for community partners willing to lead a class, or provide a meal for our Full Circle meetings. Please reach out to Jeremy Orcutt, Director of Programs and Services if you are interested in learning more or to find out all the ways you, your group or company can partner: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 515-564-6570Check out a just a few of the wonderful partners who have volunteered to lead discussions with Full Circle: