Should you put gas in the car to get to work or take your child to the doctor?
These are difficult decisions that some people in our community face, said Tonja Couch, executive director of Jackson County United Way.
Community members can gain a greater understanding about challenges those living in poverty face by participating in Rethink Poverty: Real Life, Real Choices Poverty Simulation Event from 12:30 and 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Aisin World Headquarters, 1665 E. Fourth St. Road, Seymour.
The free event, a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Jackson County, Human Services Inc. and nine others organizations, is an activity to help all employers and residents create a deeper understanding of what struggling, working families face. Participants must register at jacsy.org/rethink.
“The simulation will help bring to light some of the tough choices that those living in poverty must make,” Couch said. Jackson County United Way supports 20 local service organizations, including Anchor House, Boys & Girls Club and Meals on Wheels.
Dan Davis, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, said, “The poverty simulation puts into action the caution, ‘Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.’ We are excited to be able to offer this moving experience to the Jackson County community.”
Participants are randomly assigned the life of an actual individual who lives in poverty and the characters are based on real people who are served in our community, said Missy Woods of Human Services, Inc., who will co-facilitate the poverty simulation.
“After the participants meet their families, they work together to make it through one month,” said Woods said, who described the simulation as fast-paced. “The first week is a bit chaotic, but by the second week, the role-players are sprinting.”
In addition, the participants must deal with unexpected events, such a car breaking down.
“Even if you’ve been through one before, I encourage folks to come again — and bring a friend, because every time the experience is different,” Davis said.