On February 24, 2017, the MCVLP hosted a Community Action Poverty Simulation at Ridley Hall of the Church of the Nativity. The Poverty Simulation is an interactive experience that helps facilitate an understanding of the challenges faced by individuals in our community who are living at or below the poverty level. The simulation increases participants’ understanding of hardships and the emotional toll experienced by impoverished members of our society and the work it takes to achieve self-sufficiency. Designed to help people experience the kinds of pressures that families at or near the poverty line experience, the simulation assigns participants to families with realistic scenarios to survive a month in poverty.

Participants found themselves in a new world, one that forced them out of their comfort zone, and into a place of understanding to hopefully become a better leader. Each participant played a role within a family, and their income was below the poverty line. This presented a number of challenges; having to get a job, having to get to work, paying their mortgage, and avoiding a life of crime and jail time.

“You get to step in their shoes and see how they handle day-to-day life,” said one volunteer. “You see how they actually get through their struggles, what they go through with their families and how they cooperate with it. You then feel their frustration they take on. It’s moving to see that everything is not perfect and everyone’s life is very different.”

One main goal from the day is to issue a challenge – a challenge to walk a life in someone else’s shoes. In doing this, they may better understand how to be a more effective leader in society.