(Victor Valley)– – First 5 San Bernardino and Catholic Charities partnered to bring a Poverty Simulation to San Bernardino on Thursday, January 3, 2013 following First 5 San Bernardino’s State of First 5 Address. The half-day, role-playing exercise challenged participants to maintain shelter, eat, and if employed, work in a simulated town for one month. Agencies across San Bernardino County registered to participate in the simulation which took place at California State University San Bernardino. These tasks may sound simple enough, but participants found that providing for one’s family with limited resources can be more difficult than they previously imagined.
“We hope to affect change in the way we care for our communities through this experience,” says Karen E. Scott, Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino. “The simulation will bring reality to the hardships our families with young children face when their circumstances are difficult and navigating assistance resources are contrary.”
During the simulation, which took place at the Santos Manuel Student Union Center, each participant was asked to take on the role of a family member living in a simulated town. Directors of public service agencies became grandparents living on social security, and case managers became teenage mothers, per their randomly selected assignments. Once the simulation began, each family had to decide how to address the challenges of the week. Who uses the family car when both parents need it to commute to work? Is it more important to keep the lights on or the mortgage paid? Where does the money come from when there is an unexpected medical expense? Participants faced these issues and many more during the simulated month.
In holding this event, First 5 San Bernardino and Catholic Charities’ goal is to spark the process of systemic change by sensitizing community leaders, stakeholders, and persons of influence to the struggle of low-income families in San Bernardino County.
For more information on the Poverty Simulation or First 5 San Bernardino, contact (909) 386-7706.