Workshop Coming to CSUSB Sheds Light on What it’s Like to Live in Poverty


By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Cal State San Bernardino’s Institute for Child Development and Family Relations will host a morning event this week that will give participants an opportunity to learn more — and experience — what it’s like to live in poverty.

The Poverty Simulation will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 16, at the CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center. It will mark the third year that CSUSB has held the workshop. Registration for this event is closed as it has reached maximum capacity.

According to the Poverty Simulation website, “Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. But unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand. The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.”

The Poverty Simulation Workshop is a role-playing experience that offers an opportunity to learn more about the realities of living in conditions of poverty. It is a simulation, not a game. Participants enter the workshop with a new identity and family profile. The task of the “families” is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute weeks. Afterwards, they debrief and share insights of what they experienced, which typically are vivid and intense.

People who have participated in the poverty simulation have expressed an increase in social awareness into the issues associated with poverty. A participant said, “I thought I knew what poverty was like since I experienced it as a child, but I failed to realize what poverty was like for my mother. After this experience, I can now understand the hardship my mother went through.”

For more information contact Kim McDonald at the CSUSB Institute for Child Development and Family Relations at or (909) 537-3679.

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