Angelique Libby took Circles lessons to heart and absolved enough family debt to get financing in place for her new bakery opening soon in Greensburg.

Angelique Libby’s lifetime dream is about to come true and she says it would not have been possible without Circles, a program sponsored by Youth Core Ministries in Greensburg. Angel’s Heavenly Desserts & Daylight Donuts hopes to open on Monday, Aug 27, 2018 in the SunChips incubator building on Main Street.

“All that is left is the final inspections.” Libby said.

Libby grew up in a home of bakers, self- taught by working with her mom, grandma and aunt, who has been a professional cake decorator for over 50 years.

Libby said her aunt taught her everything she knows. As a 10-year-old kid growing up in Seattle, Wash., Libby fell in love with baking when each weekend her family would get together and bake.

“We would all gather in the kitchen and start baking in early November then freeze items to be deliver to our friends for Christmas,” she said.

Now Libby has passed on the love of baking to her family and she now wants to share it with her friends in the community of Greensburg.

“I would not be where I am today without the help of the Circles program and the people in the community who have supported me” she said.

Libby came to the area in 1998 to attend Barclay College in Haviland. She met her husband, Travis, there and has called Kiowa County home ever since.

“This is home and I am so lucky to live in this caring community,” Libby said. “There was no way we would’ve ever been able to af- ford to do this without the teaching at the Circles program. We were drowning in debt. We had $40,000 in medical bills, we owed $28,000 on our home and cars and had over $15,000 in credit card debt.”

Through the teaching and support of the Circles program, the Libbys began to pay off their debt and paid off three credit cards in the first 20 weeks of the class.

“Circles taught me to prioritize where we should spend our money and how to make a budget, it was more than that, they gave me the spiritual and emotional resources I needed to do this,” Libby said. “It wasn’t a handout but a hand up. They kept me accountable and helped me understand what was important. They taught me how to meal plan and I also attended the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class.”

Libby was a former manager at Subway and was familiar with the food service business. She knew she would have to work hard to make her dream come true and is thankful Circles was there to help.

“I had tried to get loans before to open my business but was turned down be- cause I had too much debt,” she said. “I knew I needed help from somewhere.”

Circles is just one of the many branches of Youth Core Ministries, formerly called Youth For Christ.

Deb Factor, Executive Director of Youth Core, became involved with the program several years ago when she was frustrated with what she saw happening in families around her.

“I don’t want to be doing what I am doing in 20 years I told my mom, Linda Durham,” Factor said. “I am tired of seeing kids come to know God as a youth and then, because they live in the circle of poverty, they grow up and deal with the same non- productive lifestyle choices their parents made. They aren’t able to live the full life that God has for them because they just don’t have the support they need to make changes.”

Durham said that was the beginning of the Circles program in Kiowa County that has now helped many families break the cycle of poverty.

For Libby, who started attending Circles classes in April 2015, the program provided her with connections to employers, community organizations, so-cial service agencies, and individuals who were skilled in addressing and reducing poverty in a comprehensive way.

“Circles brings people from all sectors and economic classes together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and sup- port those who are moving out of poverty,” Libby said. “But the best part is the family unit and the support you receive.”

Participants in the local Circles program study the book “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin-By World.” Linda Durham, who teach- es the 10-week course, lives in Wichita but drives in every week to teach.

“I take people through the course in 20 weeks so they can take their time and make sure they understand,” Durham said. “People don’t realize every class has rules and people in poverty don’t understand middle class rules, so I explain the rules. For ex- ample, people in poverty make money and spend it, middle-class people make money to save it for retirement, and the wealthy look at making money more as a heritage to be passed on.”

Locally, the group meets

at 6 p.m. every Monday night at the Greensburg United Methodist Church. A free dinner which is sponsored by local area churches, business and or- ganizations from Haviland, Greensburg and Mullinville is served be- fore the meeting starts. Adults attend a class while childcare is provided for those that need it.

Classes have been offered for three years and there have been 49 graduates, with six adults and five children moving out of poverty completely.

“Eighty-five percent of those graduating have seen their financial situation at least stabilize,” Factor said. ”Because of the training that Angelique Libby re- ceived from Circles, her family is now completely debt free except for her student loans and three payments left on one medical bill. She paid off two cars, their house and a huge amount of credit card and medical bill debt in just 20 months.”

After the students attend the 20 week program through Circles that Durham teaches she says they are invited to stay on for another for 18 months working with a mentor called an Ally. The Allies are leaders and individuals in the community who are willing to donate their time to continue to work with the students on an indi- vidual level supporting them in their budget and life goals.

“I could not of made it without the help of my Al- lies Dennis McKinney and Tammy Alexander,” Libby said. “They helped me so much through this process from putting my business plan together to just emotional support that I needed to keep going.”
Allies are asked to commit for 18 months to the program but the complete transformation for the stu- dents takes two to four years. The Circles program is there to encourage them the whole time.

Greensburg is not the only place Youth Core is ministering. There are Circles programs in Great Bend, St. John, Pratt and Stafford. Youth Core also ministers in six other communities throughout the state of Kansas.

Because of Circles, Libby’s five-year dream is about to come true. When the bakery opens she will not only have donuts for sale, but will also offer pretzels, muffins, cookies, brownies, pies and cheesecakes.

“I will have to start off slow, of course there will be donuts everyday, but in addition I will be mixing the rest up as the business grows and I see what works,” Libby said.

She will be taking special orders with a 24-hour notice. She plans to sell cake and pie by the slice.

Along with the bake goods there will be cold and hot drinks and she will be selling the locally roasted coffee, Roasted Riches, owned by Nick Sterner and Ryan Tarver. The coffee can be bought by the cup or bag.

Libby said her husband, Travis, who was raised with a cake decorator for a grandmother and is an artist himself, will be helping out around the bakery when she needs some special work done. Travis Lib- by is the facility manager at the Kiowa County Court- house.

“ We make a good team” Libby said.