At the last class, we completed a poverty simulation. Everyone was split into different families, with scenarios of which to participate. Expectations were clear and we all had to be active participants in the project.
I was part of the Collins family, and played Ernest. This character lost his job as an electrician and was on track to complete his BA. His wife had a full-time job at a bank, and the couple had three children. Also, Ernest’s nephew from Texas, lived with them. He was seventeen.
My group read over the scenarios and we carefully budgeted our money. The first week, everything seemed to go OK. However, we accidentally left our money on the table, and $500 of that was stolen by different people in the room. The loss of money did not allow us to pay bills and unexpected emergencies that occurred. We had to go on a payment plan with the bill department, and by the next month, we owed hundreds of dollars.
Overall, the poverty simulation allowed me to think about what many of my families might experience daily. Emotions that ran through me included frustration, hopelessness and anxiety. Toward the end of class, we had a group discussion where I reflected on the experience and how to move forward. One person mentioned this: what is one thing I can do tomorrow to help a student, to bring hope? At times, school might be the only safe-haven in a student’s life and what can I do to provide that refuge? I’ve thought about some ideas, and it’s now to go forth and continue to do good for my community.