The Simulation Experience

The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to
understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to
survive from month to month. It is a simulation, not a game. In the simulation up
to 88 participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty.
Some families roles you might be assigned are :

  • Newly unemployed
  • Recently deserted by the “breadwinner”
  • Homeless
  • Recipients of temporary assistance for needy families(TANF)
  • Without additional earned income
  • Senior citizens receiving disability or retirement
  • Grandparents raising their grandchildren

The experience lasts from two and a half to three hours. Children and youth are
integral to the event and are encouraged to attend with their family. It includes an
introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in
which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences and
talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty.