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By Don Ford
Special to The SUN
About 50 people experienced the virtual realities of poverty in a unique poverty simulation several months ago.
The poverty simulation was designed to help people better understand the realities of poverty. Participants included staff members of various human service agencies, town and county employees and community leaders.
Statements like these were heard: “I never knew living on the edge could be so taxing.” “How do people survive living that way?” “This was a real eye opener.”
“This program helps people understand the frustrations of living in poverty day to day. With a greater awareness of its impact, we can more effectively address poverty issues in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County,” said Pastor Don Ford of the Community United Methodist Church.
Using a simulation kit, participants role play the lives of low-income families. Some are TANF recipients, some disabled and others are senior citizens on Social Security. They are tasked with providing the basics of living over four, 15-minute weeks. They interact with human services, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviews, police officers and others.
The next simulation will take place from 12:30-3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15, in the Commons area of Pagosa Springs High School.
If you are interested in participating in the simulation and/or interested in being a facilitator, call or stop by the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street (264-5508). An orientation workshop for those interested in acting as support staff (human service worker, banker, grocer, pawn broker, police, etc.) will be held on Tuesday, March 6, at 1 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church.