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What is it? This simulation seeks to help middle and upper income individuals understand the realities of living in poverty. During the simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security. Each simulation takes place in a virtual town with the resources that are typically available to low income families. The task of each family is to go through the daily activities of life, i.e. paying bills, providing food and shelter, providing childcare, etc. while interacting with various community resources.
How many people can participate? 30-75, depending on the space available
What are the requirements to host a poverty simulation?
A simulation can be scheduled for a specific organization or target audience. Pre-event staff meeting is required before the simulation for approval of space and supplies. Poverty simulations take approximately 2 ½-3 hours to conduct. This includes a debriefing at the end of the simulation.
For more information contact Sonia Holycross at (937) 335-0448.
I believe that in order for a community to fully embrace an issue, they must have some first-hand experience and knowledge. While this simulation is only a brief glimpse into the lives of those struggling in poverty, I believe it offers a key teaching moment. It demonstrates how the vast psycho-social and economic barriers this population face causes untold stress on a daily basis in the struggle to survive until the next day. I believe that when the community can fully appreciate this daily struggle, it will produce empathy and the desire to act.
I see the Poverty Simulation as a real way to open up the experience of poverty to those of us who don’t have these particular struggles. It makes it easy to see what barriers we put in the way of people who are struggling to get on every day. It also made it possible for those of us who participated to talk the experience over with each other, to have a common basis of understanding. We got into the roles so far that when we see each other again, we sometimes automatically fall back ‘into character’ with each other. It was that powerful.