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CANHelp’s “Poverty Simulation”…What Is It?

Will you start out the month with only a $10 bill to meet your family’s basic needs? … Or, will you be one of the unlucky ones? You’ll find out when you join us for a unique opportunity to experience the virtual realities of poverty.

CANHelp will host a Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) on Wednesday, May 16th from 9:00am – 1:00pm at The ROC located at 115 Putman St., Sulphur Springs TX 75482. 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.

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 was designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families, as well as to create a broader awareness of the realities of poverty among policymakers, community leaders and others. It has been made available by the Missouri Association for Community Action. CANHelp purchased the simulation kit from the Missouri Association for Community Action to use within Hopkins and the surrounding counties to bring more awareness about those living in poverty or even just above. Even though CAPS originated in Missouri, the simulation is very relevant to what people in rural and urban communities in Texas face on a daily and monthly basis.

We invite you or someone from your staff to participate in or to observe the Poverty Simulation. I think you will find it provides an intriguing opportunity to describe a very real challenge to our community. Please contact me at [email protected] or 903-885-9797 ext. 1 if you would like additional information or would like to register for the simulation. While invitations were sent out to community leaders, we would love if you could share this information prior to the simulation to promote the event. The event is free and seating is still available at this time but is limited. We look forward to seeing you there.



Author: Enola Gay

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