Simulation Helps People Understand Life in Poverty

Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) hosted a poverty simulation on November 18 to help people better understand what it’s like to live in poverty. The workshop was conducted by the Poverty Reduction Initiative, a Kalamazoo-based group that runs these workshops across the state of Michigan.

The simulation mainly drew members of Hillsdale County service organizations. Some attendees were assigned to family roles (schoolchildren, parents, teens, senior citizens), while others were given non-family roles (mortgage lender, business owner, etc.). Then the various persons interacted.

Through the simulation, participants were made more aware of specific problems poor people face, such as transportation, time constraints, quality of family life, difficulties in dealing with social agencies, the stigma of asking for help, and the importance of education in landing a job. They saw how parents, putting all their energy into just struggling to survive, had little left for family time. Sometimes children who ended up in juvenile centers were left there, because parents knew they would have food, shelter, and safety.

The purpose of the event was to help people think of ways to work together to help persons in need.

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