Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative “ Reducing Poverty Through Collaboration, Education, and Economic Opportunity.” Poverty Simulation Workshop Volunteer Training
The following presentation is an introduction to the Poverty Simulation Workshop and your role as a volunteer . Please read each slide carefully, as the information provided is very important .
Once you complete this introduction you will be ready to volunteer!
To complete the volunteer process, make sure you fill out the “volunteer sign up” form found under the “poverty simulation” tab on our website www.haltpoverty.org
You will also find a list of workshop dates to sign up for on our website
Thank you– we look forward to seeing you at the simulations!
Poverty Simulation Workshops
Since 2006 our Poverty Simulation Workshops have provided great success throughout the Kalamazoo County community, acting as our main educational tool.
The idea behind the workshop was copy written in the 1970’s and has been utilized across the country ever since.
What are the Poverty Simulation Workshops?
The poverty simulation workshop is an experience designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family, trying to survive from month to month. The objective is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-wage earners.
During the simulation workshop, 50 to 82 participants are assigned to roles as they enter, taking on a new identity of a “family” facing poverty. The roles assigned include a broad spectrum of experiences, from the newly unemployed, recently deserted single parent, to recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, formerly AFDC), either with or without additional earned income.
Other roles include Senior Citizens on Social Security and those who begin the workshop homeless. Together the new families and their neighbors are given the challenge of making their ends meet during a simulated “month.” The participants will need to use the provided resources, their wit and creativity to survive the month as those living as low-income residents would. The 2-3 hour workshop is broken up into two parts. The simulated “month” is divided up into four 12-15 minute “weeks,” signaled by a whistle. This is followed by a debriefing period of about an hour, where participants will be able to discuss with others and learn about the variety of experiences they encountered.
Here, participants act out their roles at one of the many community services simulated in the workshop.
Goals of the workshop
Raise awareness to the realities of poverty
Break down stereotypes and misconceptions
Cultivate community understanding to the systematic problems of poverty
Generate action toward change
Instill a message of community responsibility
What a Poverty Simulation Looks Like:
As you enter the room you will find the perimeter outlined with various tables that make up the “community resource” stations.
In the center of the room are family groups, arranged by chairs .
Each cluster of chairs represents a family “home.”
The following slides show the layout of the entire space—community resource tables and family homes…
Bank Community Action Bureau Food-a-Rama Mortgage and Reality Pawn Shop Police Department Utility Company Department of Human Services School Daycare General Employer Interfaith Services Quick Cash Facilitator podium Jolly/Jacobi Kaminski/Knowles Locke/Louise Morris Nattin Olsen Perez Quant Rodgers Smith Tiskit Ussar Vimmer Wiscott Xanthos Yarrow Zuppot
Participants seated within their “family” groups, with community resource tables around perimeter
Role of Volunteer:
The volunteers fill the roles of various community agencies and organizations.
Each workshop requires 20-25 volunteers
Each community agency has a unique task
In several volunteer roles, there are two volunteers assigned as partners
The workshops would not be possible without the commitment and help of our volunteers. Thank you for your wonderful support!
Volunteers in action!
Your Task as a Volunteer:
Each volunteer task is outlined in the “role instructions sheet” provided for you
As each task is unique, it is your responsibility to study the document of your role ahead of time. (Given to you before the day of the workshop).
One role requires a volunteer to speak a language other than English to provide participants with the reality of not being able to communicate their needs. If you are bilingual, please inform the volunteer manager to aid the role assignment process.
Once you have signed up for a workshop date, the role you have been assigned will be sent to you 10-7 days ahead of time.
You can find all the role instruction sheets on our website
If you have questions before the workshop, feel free to contact Kelcie Douglas,(Volunteer Manager and Event Coordinator) 269-615-1383 email@example.com
This portion of the workshop can be the most impactful for both participants and volunteers!
Aside from the participants sharing their experiences, feelings, lessons, challenges and conclusions, as a volunteer you will be invited to share your experience also. Whether it’s an observation from the day or a story from your personal life, you are welcome and encouraged to share!
Believe it or not, sharing your story of personal struggles in poverty means a lot to every participant and deepens the impact of the workshop to create a more meaningful experience. So if you feel comfortable sharing your message you are welcome to do so, but not required.
Notes for all Volunteers
Once you have studied your role instructions and asked any questions, you should be ready to go! Just a few reminders to help you on your way…
It is important that as a group we convey that the workshop is not a game. If we take it seriously, the participants will too.
You must take a transportation pass from every person that comes to your station
If you make a mistake during the simulation, it is ok! It happens in the real world all the time . Most importantly, we are creating something as close to reality as possible in the simulation, so be creative in times of need… we support you in all that you do!
You must be flexible and able to go with the flow! The nature of the role play in the workshop creates situations unique to every group. Each group of participants presents new challenges and questions—PRI staff will be there supporting you through the hurtles, but we also can’t predict everything that will come up. Just remember…
HAVE FUN! YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE ASSET TO OUR ORGANIZATION AND WE COULD NOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU! THANK YOU!
Now that you have completed the Volunteer Training and introduction to the Poverty Simulation Workshop, please note the final check list below:
Make sure you have filled out and sent the “volunteer sign up” form on our website, found under the “Poverty Simulation” tab
You can also sign up for a workshop date on our website.
If you would like to request a specific role, or are bilingual, please make a note in the “comments” section
Once you have signed up for a workshop, expect to receive an email with all of the details 7-10 days ahead of the workshop date.
Thank you for your time and interest! We look forward to meeting you soon!
And remember, Kelcie Douglas is always available to answer questions, so do not hesitate to contact her! 269.615.1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org