Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Poverty Role-Play Raises Interest ; Plan Often 'Blows Up'

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Poverty Role-Play Raises Interest ; Plan Often 'Blows Up'

Article excerpt

It starts out like a game. A group of people are given roles to play in a scenario where they have limited income. Around them are mock social and community services: a place to get food stamps, a place to work, a school, a day care, a grocery store, a bank, utility service, pawnshop and jail.

To "win" the game, the individuals or family groups must pay all their bills, keep everyone fed and not lose their possessions.

"It's always really cool to watch," said Sharon Taylor, the director of operations at Christian Life Center. "At first people are like, 'OK, this is a game, I'm going to win it.' And if somebody's never lived in poverty, they don't understand, throughout the time there's also going to be things that happen, like your car breaks down, your kid gets in trouble at school and they get suspended and you've got to stay home. So when they have their best-laid plan, it kind of blows up."

And blow up it did.

This is the second year the group has gathered members of the community together for a poverty simulation. It launched a local campaign called the 30 Days of Poverty. Every day this month, local groups are hosting events, tours and fundraisers to bring awareness to poverty issues in Evansville.

The poverty simulation Thursday - hosted by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and County Commissioner Joe Kiefer - was designed to highlight for those who do not live in poverty the struggles a low-income individual or family faces on a monthly basis.

"It never ceases to amaze me that before the end of the month most of the households go into illegal activity," Taylor said. "And they start stealing from other families. People who would be reading the paper and they would be like, 'I would never.' And they would actually lower themselves to that level."

By the "second week" in the situation, only one family had paid their bank loan, and several people failed to show up for work. …

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