Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) and the Van-Far School District have scheduled a Poverty Simulation event for April 10, 6 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the Van-Far High School gymnasium. The event will be open to the public free of charge.
The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants understand what it is like to live in a typical, low-income family trying to survive from month to month. It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by people in low-income situations.
In the simulation, 20 to 85 participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty. Some participants are newly unemployed, recently deserted by the head of household, and others are recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), either with or without additional earned income. Still other participants are senior citizens receiving Social Security or grandparents raising their grandchildren. The task of the “families” is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.”
The simulation is conducted in a large room with the “families” seated in groups in the center. Around the perimeter are tables representing community resources and services for the families. These services include a bank, super center, Community Action Agency, employer, utility company, pawn broker, grocery, DFS office, payday and title loan facility, mortgage company, school, and child care facility.
Volunteers, preferably persons who have faced or are facing poverty, are recruited to staff the resource tables. Volunteers are also recruited to assume the roles of police officer and an “illegal activities” person.
The experience lasts from two to three hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences and talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty.
Community leaders, policy makers, business owner’s, educators, anyone in customer service field, case management, law enforcement and general/professional service providers are strongly encouraged to attend this event.
For more information about the Poverty Simulation, please contact Tad Dobyns at (573) 582-7864 Tad-Dobyns@showmeaction.org or Christopher Felmlee at (573) 594-6111 firstname.lastname@example.org.