Catholic Charities San Bernardino & Riverside Counties is hosting a Poverty Simulation at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in San Bernardino on Friday, November 18. The Poverty Simulation is designed to help people better understand the challenges, stresses, and compounding factors that contribute to poverty. Most people see poverty as a stand-alone issue, but the poverty simulation allows individuals to walk a month in the shoes of a poor family and understand how complex and interconnected the issues of poverty are.
During the simulation, participants are assigned a role in a family. The task for each family is to find a way to provide food, locate or maintain shelter, and secure other basic necessities for one month. Every week is represented in 15 minute intervals in which family members must meet basic requirements and interact with the community resources that they need. The Poverty Simulation has been described by past participants as “real,” “stressful,” and “life-changing.” Participants face a variety of difficult, yet common, challenges. The result is a simulated experience of poverty in which participants gain a clear understanding of the day-to-day challenges of low-income families and learn firsthand about the institutional barriers that prevent struggling families from moving beyond poverty.
Catholic Charities hosts the Poverty Simulation with a cross-section of community stakeholders in an effort to create systemic change in government, education, social services, business, health care, law enforcement, faith community, and non-profit organizations. The experience of navigating the challenges that poor families face impacts people who can influence change in our community. For example, one participant who was a long-time educator said her preconceived ideas of parents who did not show up for meetings or provide proper supplies for their children was directly challenged after attending a Poverty Simulation. Many people report being able to feel more empathy for struggling families after attending a session.
Poverty is a reality for more than 765,000 people including 45,000 seniors and nearly 300,000 children in our two-county region. Catholic Charities hopes that a deeper understanding of the complex issues surrounding poverty will better equip the community to respond, implement systemic change, and continue the work of assisting struggling families.
Registration is free for the Poverty Simulation.
Space is limited and participants must register in advance. For more information or questions, contact Kathie at (909) 388-1239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.