K-State Salina family studies and human services program to host community poverty simulation
Monday, March 23, 2015
SALINA — Kansas State University Salina will offer an educational and interactive workshop about the struggles of living in a low-income family and the realities of poverty within the community and across the nation.
The Poverty Simulation will be 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, in the College Center conference room and is open to the public. Each attendee will participate in the demonstration and will assume the role of someone going through financial hardships, from a single parent trying to provide for children to a senior citizen making ends meet on Social Security. Participants will be given real-life scenarios to act out and in a debriefing that follows, can discuss their experiences and observations.
"People in our community have no idea how many families are considered impoverished in Salina," said Kate Behan, K-State Salina assistant professor of family studies and human services. "At least half of the school children in USD 305 are part of the free and reduced lunch program. It's time we start talking about this issue so we can find ways to make a change."
Behan teaches a class about families and poverty and has her students participate in a poverty simulation as part of their curriculum requirement. This year, she is collaborating with Circles of the Heartland, an organization in Salina that assists individuals and families with moving out of poverty, to create a workshop that the community also can experience and gain understanding about living in poverty.
"Often, there is an assumption by the general public that a person is at fault for having to live on a low-income budget, but that is not always the case," said Behan. "My hope is that participants will see, through these demonstrations, just how difficult it can be to surpass their struggles and the structural causes of poverty."
The Poverty Simulation costs $20 per person for participants or is free for students with their ID. The workshop also is looking for volunteers to play the roles of townspeople. For more information on how to register for the event, contact Shelly Martin, Circles of the Heartland coordinator, at 785-827-6731, or Behan at 785-826-2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Poverty Simulation is sponsored by K-State Salina, Circles of the Heartland, Consumer Credit Counseling Services and Saint Francis Community Services.