Impact of Poverty Simulation Felt on Campus

Last Friday, OACAC visited the Forest Campus to present its Poverty Simulation, which will be repeated this Friday July 29th.

Dozens of students, faculty, and staff attended the event, which showed what it's like to live for a month in the life of someone with limited to no income.

"The poverty simulation was one of the most powerful educational tools I have encountered," said student Jamie Bell. "The power of this exceptional learning resource is that it creates awareness into the state of chronic crisis that overcomes so many struggling families."

In many cases attendees of the simulation were asked to portray a life they may have never experienced before.

"I played a 20-year-old single mother, with a one-year-old child," said Forest's Web Communication Specialist Will Carter. "Within the first few minutes of the simulation I learned just how hard it is to take care of your child when trying to pay bills and work the system just so you can survive."

The scenarios were very realistic, and the volunteers did an incredible job of showing you just how difficult living at that level can be.

Rennie Wright is one of the OACAC volunteers who played a school teacher in the simulation and said, "This really gives people a chance to walk in someone else's shoes. At the end, hopefully the light bulb comes on, and they realize this is not what I expected; living in poverty is much harder than I thought it would be."

Wright has actually been in the situation in the past and said, "It was really frustrating. I didn't know where to go. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know who to talk to."

In fact, the word frustrating is one that was mentioned repeatedly throughout the simulation, and participants simply couldn't believe how much effort it took to get ahead for even a day.

"Get ready to have your eyes opened! I was blown away by considering the strength and determination needed by people who live this way on a daily basis, especially when it's evident that the system will continuously keep them right where they are," said student Chris Barrows.

The OACAC Poverty Simulation sponsored by DIPI returns this Friday, July 29th from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm. There are still spots available and you may sign-up in the library. The event has also been opened up to others, so participants are welcome to bring a friend or family member along.

Click an image below to see full-size photo from simulation.