ASJ is offering a rare opportunity to walk in the shoes of those living in poverty during a poverty simulation workshop May 21 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). While I am not involved in the workshop, I wanted to provide my testimony because I feel so strongly that attending the workshop will touch you in unexpected ways and give even deeper meaning to your social justice work.
I did a similar poverty simulation with the Senior Youth at SPAG Con where we assumed the roles of a middle-class husband and wife with three kids trying to navigate daily life after a job loss and major loss of resources. It was a profound experience! My simulated family could have been my own. It really opened my eyes to the little things I take for granted. For example, things like having a family pet and throwing a birthday party for one of our kids were out of reach for my “family.”
Even though I thought I understood poverty on some level, I was one of those people who assumed social services were available and accessible even if not plentiful. I can tell you from my simulated poverty experience, it’s not that easy to get to a social service office during business hours if you have a job you can’t get time away from or be late to, or if you have unreliable or no transportation.
Even though it was a simulation, I felt real anxiety trying to live a day-in-the-life with so many obstacles and so few resources. The experience truly changed my life. Based on my experience, I would suggest this is best for adults and junior high kids and older. Childcare will be provided for the little ones. I hope you’re able to attend.