West Virginia University holds poverty simulation event for employees

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West Virginia University at Parkersburg will hold an event tomorrow called “Life On The Edge: A Poverty Simulation.” The program, presented by WVU Extension specialist Richard Fleisher, will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the College Activities Center. The poverty simulation provides an opportunity to understand better the effects of poverty on families and will involve 12 WVU Parkersburg staff volunteers and about 30 participants who are all employees at the college. The event is being coordinated by Michele Wilson with our Workforce and Community Education division.

The simulation places participants into family groups that have to negotiate through a compacted month-long time period. Each plays a role as a family member and interacts with staff volunteers who role-play community resource providers (police, DHHR, teacher, bank, local stores, loan shark, etc.). The task of each family is to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities during the simulation while interacting with various community resources staffed by volunteers. The simulation enables participants and volunteers to view poverty from different angles in an experiential setting, while allowing them an opportunity to interact with others in their community.

After the simulation, the facilitator conducts a mini-workshop, sharing facts and statistics about poverty in West Virginia. Attention is given to the Self-Sufficiency Standard for West Virginia. The Self-Sufficiency Standard defines the amount of income necessary in each county to meet basic needs. The family types for which the Standard is calculated are numerous, ranging from one adult with no children, to one adult with a preschooler, to two adults with an adolescent and teen, two adults with three teens, etc.

The simulation concludes with participants breaking into groups to debrief and discuss how the experience might influence their work responsibilities and/or volunteer service.

Posted in General News, Workforce & Community Education