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									        A
Poverty Simulation
   Experience
The Spring Kick-Off Event
         for the
      2008-2009
Common Reading Project
The Spring Kick-Off Event
         for the
      2008-2009
Common Reading Project

      Bloomington, IN
     February 25, 2009
The chosen text for the Common Reading
Project was Nickel and Dimed, on (Not)
Getting By in America. Author Barbara
Ehrenreich went undercover to experience
life as an underpaid member of America’s
working poor. Her investigation revealed
the stress and anxiety of the millions who
cannot “get by” on minimum wage jobs.
The chosen text for the Common Reading
Project was Nickel and Dimed, on (Not)
Getting By in America. Author Barbara
Ehrenreich went undercover to experience
life as an underpaid member of America’s
working poor. Her investigation revealed
the stress and anxiety of the millions who
cannot “get by” on minimum wage jobs.



The Poverty Simulation Experience gave participants
the chance to “live” for a month with very limited funds
and resources -- and to deal with the stress and
challenges associated with poverty.
A crowd of about 60 people participated.
Participants were grouped into “families” who would live
   and work together to keep their household going.
Some families had babies to take care of.
  Other participants
 found themselves to
be single parents and
would have to face the
   challenge alone.
Most had to scramble to find a job and
     create a plan for the month.
Children would have to be taken to school.
Rent and bills
would have to
  be paid.
And there would
 be very little
 money to pay
  those bills.
Participants had to secure transportation and
     prioritize their other responsibilities.
   Although it was a struggle to
survive on the limited resources…
Many participants were able to
take care of their basic needs.
Some, however, had to pawn precious items to
   generate enough cash for the month.
Some had to even spend time in jail!
 Some were able to get
help from the Department
   of Social Services.
Others found help from shelters and faith-based organizations.
After patiently waiting in line and filling out endless forms…
 A lucky few were
     able to get
individual attention
   from a Social
      Services
    Caseworker.
At the end of the experience, most participants were
        tired, weary, frustrated, and stressed.
The Poverty Simulation Experience was
an all too real experience for some and a
real eye-opener for others.
Most participants agreed that the lack of
time, money, and resources made it nearly
impossible to survive on the income from
a low-wage job.
How can you help break the cycle of Poverty?

								
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