Over 7,400 Knox County residents (4% above the national average) live in poverty every day. Many more people have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs like SNAP and Medicaid. It is difficult for those of us who are
able to provide basic necessities to our families without private and/or governmental assistance to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every day, the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel.
Regional Office of Education #26 and #33 will host a Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) on February 9th from 8:30am to 11:30am at Regional Office of Education #33. This learning tool has been created as a way to help people understand the realities of poverty. During a simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families. Some are TANF recipients, some are disabled, and some are senior citizens on Social Security. They have the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.” They interact with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and others.
CAPS is owned by the Missouri Community Action Network (Missouri CAN). Although play money is used, CAPS is not a game. It is a simulation that enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities. The simulation provides a glimpse into the structural barriers of poverty to transform participants’ perspectives about their own communities. These transformed perspectives inspire action toward positive community change.
We invite you or someone from your staff to participate in or to observe CAPS. I think you will find it provides an intriguing opportunity to describe a very real challenge to our community. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like additional information or would like to register for the simulation. We look forward to seeing you there.
***Courtesy of The Regional Office of Education #33***