Poverty Simulation

How A Poverty Simulation Experience Works

In the simulation, participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing a variety of challenging, but typical circumstances.  Some are homeless, others have recently become unemployed and some are suddenly faced with the responsibility of raising grandchildren. 

In addition, volunteers play the roles of resource providers, such as social worker, loan officer, employer, pawnbroker, grocer, utility collector, police officer and teacher.

The program is conducted in a large room with participants seated in family clusters.  Community resources are located at tables around the perimeter of the room.  Each family receives materials explaining their family's unique situation.  The families must secure food, shelter, and other basic necessities by accessing the various resources during the course of four 15 minute weeks.

The simulation lasts approximately 2 1/2 hours and includes a facilitator's introduction, the actual simulation, and a debriefing in which participants and volunteers share that they have learned about living in poverty.

Participant Feedback from Past Simulations

A simulation leaves a lasting impression on participants and communities.  Past participants have said this about their experience:

"After attending, I have a much clearer view of what people in poverty have to endure in order to survive."

"This simulation dramatically demonstrates how much time and energy families  have to give just to survive from day-to-day.  It quickly dispels the myth that people will be fine if the would only go out and get a job!"

"What an eye opener!  Makes you want to do more to help out."

Check out Observations from a Poverty Simulation held July, 2015.

How can I be a part of United Way's work in Knox County?

United Way of Knox County envisions a commuity where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability, and healthy lives.  Imagine a world that fosters hope and opportunity for everyone where all children receive a quality education, the cycle of poverty and financial dependence ends, and everyone receives effective health care.

You can unite to fight poverty by: Sharing Poverty Simulation information within your agency, organization or church; attending a simulation and bringing a friend or co-worker, investing resources in United Way to help people achieve their human potential; volunteering with local programs that work to address the needs associated with poverty in Knox County.

Contact Us  specific details about hosting a simulation within your agency, organization or church.  This is a great team building opportunity (a group of at least 50 participants in needed in order to conduct an effective simulation).