In late August we teamed up with the University of Buffalo to provide their incoming Masters of Social Work incoming class with a poverty simulation. This simulation gave students a firsthand opportunity to see what it would be like to live in poverty for one month. This was the school's first time including a simulation such as this in an orientation, and it was a great success.

By providing this simulation it teaches students to be more sensitive to lower income households, which are a large number of the people they will be serving. Students acted out different scenarios common to low income families - such as dealing with losing a job, or eviction, as well as having to feed a family or getting robbed.

Students were each given a different role to play - from hungry child to single parent. The scenarios were done in 15 minute "weeks" to allow students to experience a full month of living. By doing so students were able to learn about the stress low income households face every day.

Other companies are following suit - New Era recently proved a shorter length poverty simulation to select employees.


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