Simulation Offers Insight on Impoverished Living
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 01:01
As part of the St. Norbert College Multicultural Competence Trainings, the Center for Community Service and Learning presented the Poverty Simulation on Thursday, February 16 in the Michels Commons Ballroom.
Judy Knudsen, Family Living Educator UW-Extension, presented the simulation to SNC students.
The Poverty Simulation provides an insightful glance into the struggles and hardships of those in poverty and the difficulty they experience to receive necessary services.
Students were assigned to different tables around the room to act as a community agency that many people in poverty have to go to on a daily basis – grocery store, rent collectors, pawn shop, bank, day care, food pantry and employment office – as well as some other places around the community such as jail, school and social services.
The rest of the students were assigned "families" and each had a different role. There were single parents, older people and families with children. The children all had to go to school every day and learn about different ways to save and make money while the parents go to the store, bank or work and find as many ways that they can to earn money to better their lives.
There were four 15-minute "sessions" where each fifteen minutes represented one week. Each week specific things each family was supposed to do – buy groceries, pay rent, pay utilities, etc. so each week they may have had to decide what was the most important at the time.
This simulation helped students better understand what it would be like to live with the struggle every day of not knowing if they would be able to eat dinner or have somewhere to sleep each night.
During the simulation, students were forced to make decisions to steal, skip school, do drugs and even commit more serious crimes like murder. At the end of the simulation everyone sat in groups and talked about the decisions they had to make and how these decisions could affect their lives, their children's lives and their relationships with their families as well as other people.