Poverty is not a game. It can, however be experienced through a simulation activity as 121 Early Learning family support staff discovered during recent trainings, on Jan 12 and 19th.  During the Poverty Immersion simulation, which was facilitated by a group from Washington State University, participants were asked to survive a virtual month living in poverty.  poverty1Individuals were randomly assigned a fictitious identity, such as a 12 year old homeless boy or an 85 year old limp-impaired woman, and a limited amount of money/resources to survive in modern society for 30 days. Along the way, they were tempted by evil, with illicit means to make money for their families. They were badgered by power-hungry police officers. And they endured hardships imposed by the window-closed/out-to-lunch social workers. Over 25 otherPSESD staff members vied for academy awards (haha) taking on the roles of bankers, bill collectors, social workers, and other community businesses or resource providers , making the experience come alive for the participants discovering the daily hardships of poverty.

During the workshop debriefing, participants and staff shared feelings, frustrations and those ‘aha’ moments

of awareness that occur when ‘heart and mind intersect’. poverty2Poverty is not a game. The Poverty Immersion Workshop allowed us a morsel of insight so that we may go back into the world armed with increased empathy and awareness for making the world a better place. Our thanks to everyone involved!

See more photos of the Poverty Immersion Workshop here.