Who We Are

The Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative (CCCI) is a cooperative community effort to elevate people out of poverty by intentionally creating relationships across class lines, and empowering people to become self-sufficient.

About Our Program

Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative provides a 14-week workgroup called "Getting Ahead." While attending these workgroup meetings, participants investigate the barriers that keep them in poverty. Given that every family has its own unique story, it is important for each person to create his/her own plan for self-improvement. We encourage individuals in productive ways to improve their own situations and, by extension, their communities, while inspiring and networkings with one another.

Each Circle consists of a family determined to get out of poverty and three to four Community Allies who befriend the family and support them on their journey toward self-sufficiency. With the help of their Community Allies, each family (Champion for Change) sets goals that are unique to their own needs and circumstances that will lead to developing the emotional, financial, intellectual and spiritual resources necessary for self-sufficiency and family stability. The average time it takes people to get out of poverty while working in a Circle is 18-24 months. It is expected that when a family becomes self-sufficient, they will, in turn practice reciprocity, by volunteering in the community or by supporting a new family on their journey out of poverty, thereby completing the circle.

people participating in Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. community effort

Mission & Vision

The Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative is a cooperative community effort to elevate people out of poverty by intentionally creating relationships across class lines, and empowering people in poverty to chart their own course toward self-sufficiency.

"Carson City, led by the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative (CCCI), has no working families living in generational poverty. Any family that is willing to take responsibility for lifting themselves out of poverty has ready access to the resources and support they need to thrive and not just survive."

Board of Directors

Jeff Paul

The very Rev. Jeff Paul, born in Cleveland, Ohio, raised in Southern California, earned his undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, attended the Provincial Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley, CA. Raised four children, now with five grandchildren, all in the Reno-Carson-Tahoe area. Father Jeff has served as Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church since 1995. His family that goes back three generations in Nevada. He is a founding instigator of the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative.

Sheriff Ken Furlong

Sheriff Ken Furlong was sworn into his office in January 2003. He is a native of Carson City and graduated from Carson High School. In 1978, Sheriff Furlong entered the United States Air Force. His military assignments included a tour in the Republic of South Korea, European Theatre, and several U.S. States. After achieving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, and a career in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, he retired in 1998 and returned home with his family, including their two children. In 1998, he received a position at the Nevada State Department of Public Safety, and served in assignments with the Division of Parole and Probation, and with the Investigations Division, Major Crimes. Sheriff Furlong, is now serving his 4th term in office..

Jenny Treece

Jenny started working in the newspaper industry in 1997 and today is a Business Development Manager for the Sierra Nevada Media Group. She develops, builds and strengthens long-term relationships with current and potential advertisers to provide effective print, digital and social media solutions in support of growing their business. Jenny has served on the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Board of Directors since 2010. She resides in Carson City with her husband, Greg, and daughter, Sophie.

Marilyn Paoli Lewis

Marlyn Paoli Lewis has been a Carson City resident since 1972 and received her AA at Western Nevada Community College and her BS in managerial science at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1981. She has worked as a State Farm Insurance Agent since 1982 and is a lifetime member of the State Farm President's Club as well as the State Farm Legion of Honor, Crystal Excellence. In 2010 she served on the Carson Nugget Development Advisory Committee. She served as a past president of the Soroptimist International of Carson City and has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 1982. She is a member of Carson, Douglas, Lyon Tahoe Board of Realtors since 1982 and is a former member and president of the Western Nevada College Foundation. She served on St. Teresa's Episcopal Church Finance Committee 2015-2016.

Jon Rogers

Jon has been on the C.I.R.C.L.E.S. board since 2008. Jon is an entrepreneur with expertise in manufacturing and metal casting. Jon is also an Ally to one of our current Champions for Change.

Collie Hutter

Collie Hutter is the Chairman and co-founder with her husband, Charles Hutter, of Click Bond, Inc., designers and manufacturers of proprietary aerospace fasteners. Mrs. Hutter previously served as CFO/COO and President of the company. She is a native of Philadelphia, PA and received her BS in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and her MBA from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Hutter is a past president of the Nevada Manufacturers Association and the Brewery Arts Center and served on the Nevada System of Higher Education's Fresh Look at Nevada's Community Colleges Task Force and the Carson City Airport Authority. She is currently on the boards of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative and is chairman of the Truckee Meadows Community College Intuitional Advisory Counsil. She is also the founder and past President of Dream It Do It Nevada, a manufacturing employer drived skilled workforce initiative.

Marcia Steeves

Marcia Steeves is a Controller's Assistant for a Carson City manufacturing facility. She spent her early career in commercial and real estate lending in the banking industry. After a 24 year career in banking, she broke into the manufacturing industry when she accepted a position in accounting at Click Bond, Inc. where she has worked for the past six years. Marcia serves as Treasurer for the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative. She also volunteers her bookkeeping services for another non-profit, Dream It Do It Nevada.She currently resides in Carson City with her husband, Pascal.

JW Lazzari

J.W. is a native Nevadan and proud to help students from western Nevada realize their dreams. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Arts in Counseling & Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nevada. J.W. joined Western Nevada College in November 2007 as an Outreach Specialist, coordinating the college's Bridge to Success program. He has since worked as the Student Employment Coordinator/FA Advisor, Counselor, and now as the Director of Financial Assistance. 

J.W. has been active in the Administrative Faculty Senate, serving as the 2010-2011 Chair. He has also served on the Student Success Committee, Strategic Planning for Institutional Excellence Committee, Budget Committee, the Employee Giving Committee, and several other ad hoc committees.

Prior to his involvement on the Western Nevada College campus, J.W. worked for the University of Nevada School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and the Sanford Center for Aging.

Shelly Aldean

Shelly Nahas Aldean was born and raised in the Easy Bay Area. Since graduating from the University of California at Davis in 1979, she has been a member of a family owned and operated business specializing in commercial and resort oriented residential development. She is President of the Glenbrook Company, a Nevada development corporation and Vice-President/Corporate Broker for Eden Managements, a Nevada property management company.

Raised by parents who stressed the importance of community service, Shelly became civically active soon after becoming a resident of Carson City in 1989. She served as president of the Carson City Mainstreet organization from 1990 to 1993 and as president of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 1995. She was chair of the Western Nevada College Foundation Board of Trustees from 1998-1999 and served on the Carson City Board of Supervisors from 2003-2013. Shelly continues to represent Carson City on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board serving as its chairwoman in 2013 and 2014. In 1999, Shelly was the recipient of the Soroptimist International of Carson City's Women of Distinction Award, the Sam Walton Business Leader Award and, in 2012, received the Carson City Chamber of Commerce Community Spirit Award. She has served as President of the Carpital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S Initiative since 2008 and was recently recognized for her work in "opening doors for those in need" by Friends in Service Helping.

Judge Armstrong

In 2011, Judge Armstrong was appointed to the Carson City Justice/Municipal Court. Prior to his appointment, he served as Justic Pro Tem for Carson City where he handled both criminal and civil calendars. Concurrent to serving as Justice Pro Tem, he practiced law as a sole practitioner in Carson City at the Law Office of Thomas R. Armstrong, Ltd. His legal practice focused on the areas of criminal defense and general civil litigation and handled cases throughout northern Nevada. Judge Armstrong was also appointed by the court as a conflict counsel for the Public Defender's Office where he provided representation to the indigent defendants of Carson City. Prior to his solo practice, he was an associate in the Litigation Department of Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner, Renshaw & Ferrario from 2007-2009.

Judge Armstrong is deeply committed to his community and heavily invested in its future. His wife is a native of Carson City and they have two preschool age children that they are raising in this community.

Joyce Newman

Joyce Newman has lived in Nevada since 1969. During her career, she worked as an exploration geologist, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Mineral Resources and served 18 years as a legislative advocate before the Nevada legislature. Most recently Joyce owned a fine art and antique appraisal practice. She has served on the boards of a number of non-profits, including the Nevada Women's Fund; Western Industrial Nevada (WIN), which she chaired; KNPB Channel 5, where she also chaired the board of directors; EDAWN, the Reno Chamber of COmmerce and the UNR Planned Giving Advisory Countil among others.

Marti Cote

Marti Cote is a Registered Nurse and currently works with the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy as a Social Services Chief, working with health policy. Early in her career, she was a nurse in Family Practice, OB/GYN and Pediatrics. Marti was also a member of the Board of Directors for Friends in Service Helping (FISH), for six years, serving one year as Board President. She was also on the Parent Teacher Organization of St. Teresa of Avila School and served one year as president there. marti is also a founding member of Carson City PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

Marti Grew up in the Bay Area and moved to Nevada in 1976. She enjoys being involved in community service and volunteering.

Brenda Silis

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Brenda moved with her family to the United States when she was 6 years old. Brenda grew up in Carson City, attending Carson High, Western Nevada College and finally obtaining her Bachelor's in Criminal Justice from University of Nevada REno in 2007 with the goal of having a career in Juvenile Probation. Brenda worked as a Home Advocate with the Even Start Literacy Program with the Carson City School District for seven years and also taught adult ESL classes in the evenings to put herself through school. After seven years Brenda left Even Start to join Carson City Health and Human Services. Brenda served as the Work Force Case Manager wth the City where she assisted clients with emergency assistance for rent and utilities. She also assisted clients with creating their resume', conductin online job searches, and preparing cover letters to prospective employers.

In June 2010, Brenda accepted a part-time position as the Coach for The Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative. For the next 6 months, Brenda provided support to the Initiative, all the while continuing her efforts as the Work Force Case Manager. In December 2010 Circles "ventured out on its own" and Brenda accepted the full-time position as the C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Coordinator/Program Manager. Brenda continues to provide leadership to the program.

Currently Brenda serves as the Program Manager and Trainer, providing leadership and support to not only the local initiative, but also assisting other communities in starting up their own poverty alleviation initiatives. She organizes and co-facilitates orientation and trainings for local and out of state visitors/organizations who want to learn more about CCCI and its approach to building self-sufficiency. Brenda's passion is helping people to help themselves.

Robert Crowell

Robert L. "Bob" Crowell is a native Nevadan, born in the mining town of Tonopah and raised in Carson City. An attorney by profession, Bob is a Vietnam Veteran and retired Navy Captain. Bob was elected Mayor of Carson City in 2008. Prior to being elected Mayor, Bob served 11 years on Carson City School Board of Trustees and served two terms as School Board president. 

In his capacity as Mayor, Bob serves as Carson City’s representative on the Nevada Association of Counties Board of Directors. He is also the Board’s representative on the Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railroad, the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Agency and the Regional Transportation Commission. Bob is also vice-chairperson of the Carson City Board of Health, is a member of the Carson City Redevelopment Authority and chairs the Partnership Carson City Advisory Committee. He is the recipient of 2015 DeBoer Award for Distinguished Leadership by an Elected Official from the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association for his role in Carson City's Downtown Urban Design Streetscape Project.

Bob earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University in 1967 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1973. He was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1973. He is a member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

Linda Ritter

As a native Nevadan, Linda grew up and attended schools in Reno. She received her BS in Business Administration from the University of Nevada and immediately embarked on a career in local government after relocating to northeastern Nevada. During her 23 years in Elko, Nevada, she served as Chief Deputy Treasurer, Budget Analyst, Comptroller and Assistant County Manager for Elko County and City Manager for the City of Elko. In 2003 she came to Carson City to serve as City Manager. After leaving that position, she started a consulting business specializing in strategic planning and execution. For several years, she managed the strategic planning and performance management efforts for Carson City, then facilitated the development of strategic plans for Western Nevada College and the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Steve Shaw

Steve served twenty years in human service positions, including direct services, administration, planning, and program development. Program areas include juvenile justice, child protective services, child welfare, children's mental health, vocation rehabilitation, drug and alcohol programs. He has served in appointed positions by three Nevada Governors.

For the past seven years he has been involved with the Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative as a volunteer ally, Board Member and half-time recruiter. Steve holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Nevada where he received a teaching/research fellowship and a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from California State University, Chico.

Fr. Chuck Durante

Father Chuck Durante was born and raised in Reno and attended local Catholic schools through high school. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a BA in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology and then attended Santa Clara Law School where he earned by JD. He then completed studies at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Reno in 1994. His first assignment was as associate pastor at Our Lady of Snows and then he moved to St Teresa's as associate pastor. From there he went to Bishop Manogue Catholic High School as chaplain and to start as Campus Ministry. During that time he assisted and then became pastor at Our Lady of Wisdom University Catholic Community. In 1998 he helped found the Life, Peace & Justice Commission, which he still chairs. In 2007 he was made pastor at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community. A couple of years later the bishop appointed him as Vicar General of the diocese, a ministry that assists the bishop in the administration of the diocese.

Jim Smolenski

Julianne Weir

Juli is a dedicated member of the CCI board, generously donating her time and resources to assist the organization achieve its goals. She has lived in Carson City for many years.