“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is enough.”
Did You Know?
Arkansas has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, ranking amongst the top 10 states in the US. // (Ruzicka, 2022)
According to the Census Bureau, in 2020 alone, there were 37.2 million people in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019, and this number only continues to grow. // (US Census Bureau, 2022)
About The Poverty Simulation
The Community Action Poverty Simulation was created by the Missouri Community Action Network. The Community Action Poverty Simulation is a tool that helps participants rethink the challenges that millions of low income individuals must face each and every day. More importantly, this tool helps people identify areas of change that can directly impact the effects of poverty on individuals, families, and communities. // (MCAN, 2021)
The simulation is meant to emulate what it is like for low income individuals and families to live a month in poverty. The month consists of four weeks, with each week being represented by a 15 minute segment.
As the simulation begins, all participants are assigned to a family unit. Once grouped, the facilitator will direct families to review their family's individual packet, getting an idea of their family's unique circumstance so they are able to plan on how they will go about tackling their month in poverty.
Around the room, participants will notice booths. The booth are manned by a volunteers, and are meant to represent different community resources. These resources include places such as the bank, schools, the supermarket, etc. So participants will want to get familiar with where they are, and the different function of each location.
Once the simulation has ended, a guided debriefing will take place, allowing participants and volunteers to share their experiences from the simulation.
The entire activity typically lasts about three hours. This time frame includes the introduction and debriefing by the facilitator prior to the simulation, the simulation itself, and the guided debriefing.
Volunteering Made Easy
In order to volunteer for the Community Action Poverty Simulation, you don't need experience. Before each simulation takes place, volunteer training takes place, allowing for individuals who are unfamiliar with the simulation to get comfortable in their role. The Poverty Simulation typically needs around 20 volunteers. Volunteers will be working at the various community resource booths placed around the room.
Upon arrival, volunteers will need to sign in and find their booth if already assigned.
Each booth has a packet with instructions inside. These packets will be of great assistance for volunteers as they go through the simulation. The packets also provide information about the types of materials that should be found at each booth. If anything is missing, or if additional material is needed, not to worry, the facilitator(s) should be able to assist with getting the needed materials.
U Trust Us National Bank
Community Action Agency
Sweaney's Mortgage and Realty Company
Big Dave's Pawnshop
Realville Police Department
Friendly Utility Company
Illegal Activities Person
Department of Social Services
Building Blocks Daycare