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Community Action Poverty Simulation

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Could You Survive a Month in Poverty?

32.9 million Americans, 11.7 of whom are children under 18, live in poverty every day.  Many more are just above the poverty line but have incomes low enough to qualify for government assistance.  It is often difficult for those who have an adequate income and enough resources to understand the situations families in poverty experience every day, the tough decisions they make, and the constant fears and frustrations they face.

The Experience

The Community Action Poverty Simulation provides participants the opportunity to assume the role of a low-income family member living on a budget.  Participants may find themselves playing the role of a young single parent, an elderly disabled individual, or a young boy with ADHD and little parental supervision.  No matter which role one is assigned, the simulation will get you outside of your life and into the life of someone not so unlike the people in your area living in poverty.  Other participants may assume the role of a community member such as a banker, police officer, or school teacher.

The Simulation

The experience is divided into four fifteen-minute sessions, each representing a "week" in poverty.  During that week, participants must provide for their family, make sure everyone gets to school or work on time, keep their homes and possessions secure, and pay all the necessary bills.  Between each "week" is a two minute break representing a weekend, where families will gather together to plan for their next week.

The Wrap Up

Following the simulation, all participants collaborate to discuss their experiences within the simulation.  The facilitator will guide participants toward actual opportunities to support those living in poverty within their own communities.


How Can I Get Involved?

To learn more about upcoming Poverty Simulations near you or to schedule a poverty simulation in your area,
contact Kara Smith (kara.smith@swplains.org or 620.675.8800).

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