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Published February 09, 2023
The University of Wyoming’s Service, Leadership and Community Engagement (SLCE) office invites UW students, faculty and staff members, and Laramie community members to participate in the Community Action Poverty Simulation Saturday, Feb. 25.
The simulation will take place from 9 a.m.-noon in the Wyoming Union Ballroom.
This learning tool, developed by the Missouri Community Action Network, has been created as a way to help communities understand the realities of poverty. During the simulation, participants are assigned a role in one of 26 different family units facing poverty. Participants are tasked with providing for basic necessities on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.”
Each family has different strengths and challenges, including extended family support, chronic illnesses, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and job/school requirements. Participants interact with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers and police officers.
Props are used to represent resources. These objects may include fake money; dolls to stand in for young children; plastic valuables that can be pawned and traded; and transportation passes that represent fares, fuel costs and time required to navigate roads in the real world.
“Much like in the real world, participants also may experience the ‘luck of the draw,’ such as car troubles, health issues, extra income from a side gig or changes in federal/state assistance programs,” says Shelby Kennedy, a senior project coordinator in the SLCE office.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 17.7 percent of Albany County residents lived with an income below the poverty threshold in 2021.
“This program enables participants to understand poverty from a variety of angles to recognize the potential for change and inspire action within our own community,” Kennedy says.
Those who would like to participate in the simulation can register at www.uwyo.edu/slce. A number of volunteers with experience living in poverty and/or working in human services also are needed to help facilitate the program. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at www.uwyo.edu/slce.
For more information, call the SLCE office at (307) 766-3117 or email email@example.com.