Rural Community Builder Name: Nicole Woodson

Community: Sisters, OR

Role: Executive Director, Circle of Friends

What is one word or phrase that describes this person as an RCB: Connector

Recognized by:  Janel Ruehl

Tell us a bit about what you appreciate about them as an RCB: Circle of Friends, a volunteer-based organization, has been offering critical services to at-risk youth in Sisters since 2011. Throughout the pandemic, their services were critical to keeping at-risk youth connected with positive and supportive adult mentorship, along with staying connected to their peers. These long-term mentorships are designed to help end the cycle of poverty experienced by youth and families by providing opportunities for building life skills, positive relationships, academic support, social and emotional development, independent decision making, and more! Through COVID-19, Circle of Friends joyfully celebrated all the milestones their 50 children and teens experienced during the pandemic. Their mentors have made and delivered birthday cakes, cheered for a young budding artist being selected to work on a mural at Sisters Middle School, championed a Mentor coming to the clubhouse to provide much-needed haircuts, and so much more! Circle of Friends underwent a leadership change in 2020 when Nicole Swisher Woodson accepted the position of Executive Director. As a fearless leader and advocate, she has helped keep Circle of Friends afloat during challenging times. Through high-quality, innovative programming and ongoing support, Circle of Friends is helping Sisters become a more connected and resilient community one child at a time.

Circle of Friends was one of eight winners of the 2021 Sisters Community Champion Awards!