How Many Paychecks are You from Poverty?
What do you do when you have too much month left at the end of the money? Partners In Prevention does a very good jog of making their poverty simulation participants figure it out.
Thursday at the 2nd Annual Poverty Simulation, approximately 45 participants gathered, including our very own, Shani Scott, to survive and navigate through four simulated weeks of poverty. What an eye opening experience for many!
In the simulation, the following resources were available: a pawn shop, shelter, grocery story, utilities payment center, bank, jail, school, and social services office. In addition to resources, the community also has someone walking around with a "luck of the draw card" and a neighborhood crook who will steal from residents and entice them with illegal opportunist when at their lowest points.
Participants typically get a reality check week one when they realize it takes a $2 bus pass to get from one location to the next. Have two children? Well, that'll be $6 for three bus passes. In reality, the attitudes of those who work with people in poverty are not the most positive, as is also simulated in the activity.
At one point during the simulation, Shani grew quite frustrated when she could not come up with the money to pay for her daughter's field trip, a common struggle for a single mother living in poverty. Overall, she really enjoyed her experience despite facing several obstacles throughout those four weeks. When telling me of her experience, she said, "Keeta, after going to jail I had to see the judge, who asked me what I planned to do with my future. I turned to her and said, 'How can I possibly think about my future when I have to worry about how I'm going to make it today?'" What a very heartfelt, eye-opening point she made. Needless to say, the poverty simulation was a quite a surreal experience, and one Shani and I hope to share with many others.