INDIAN TRAIL – Brian Cross sums up his experience in a poverty simulation in one word – stressful.
Cross, who serves as a board member for Community Heart, took on the role of a 9-year-old girl in a struggling family.
“Over all my life experiences I’ve never gone through anything like that,” he said. “There’s a lot of weight that was put on that 9-year-old girl that she was really having to act as an adult to help her family navigate around and not enjoying her youth. This simulation allows you to sit in their shoes and see what they’re going through and what they’re stressed about.”
Poverty is often portrayed as a standalone issue, but this simulation allows individuals to walk a month in the shoes of someone who is facing poverty and realize how complex and interconnected the issues of poverty really are.
Common Heart’s Advocates for Change program will present another Community Action Poverty Simulation from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at the Department of Human Services, 2330 Concord Ave. in Monroe.
Families who are living in poverty, or have experienced poverty, are also encouraged to attend and share their experiences.
Register for the free event at www.Poverty.CommonHeart.org. Students are welcome.
Missouri Community Action Network developed the simulation as an experience to break down stereotypes by allowing participants to step into the real-life situations of others.
Participants will spend a simulated month in the poverty experienced by our community’s individuals and families. This interactive event promotes poverty awareness, increases understanding and inspires local change to rethink poverty.
“Before you automatically dismiss people or think they’re lazy or ungrateful, walk in someone’s shoes and attend this simulation,” Cross said. “It makes you feel grateful for what you have and hopefully makes you think about helping people more.”