Poverty Simulations

  • Poverty Simulations are currently offered in a flexible, virtual format.

Groups of ten or more who are interested in learning about and connecting with the complex issues surrounding poverty on a deeper, more personal level, can now register for the Virtual Poverty Awareness Experience.

Facilitated by a member of the Crisis Assistance Ministry team, this experience consists of three segments:

  • An overview of Crisis Assistance Ministry and its role in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community
  • An online simulation experience designed to invoke deeper understanding and empathy surrounding the realities of living with limited financial resources
  • A guided group discussion focused on sharing perspectives, understanding challenges, and discussing the collective action needed to create a better society for everyone

The experience is designed for adult learners who live or work in Mecklenburg County. It is conducted via Zoom and can be customized for corporate groups, houses of worship, higher education, and more.

Crisis Assistance Ministry does not charge for the facilitation of this activity, but donations are greatly appreciated as they help fund the agency’s mission.

  • Virtual poverty simulations can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more. To discuss how this experience could benefit your group, please contact us at [email protected].
  • If you aren't part of a group and want to experience a poverty simulation, we host monthly sessions for individuals who live or work in Mecklenburg County. Please pre-register here.

What is a Poverty Simulation?

A Poverty Simulation is a facilitated two-hour immersive experience designed to create awareness among participants of life at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Participants are assigned to “families” who do their best to survive week-to-week over a simulated one-month period. The simulation presents participants with real-life scenarios and challenges faced by people living in poverty.  The exercise is immediately followed by a group debrief, during which participants reflect on the experience, discuss insights, and consider next steps.

Participants often tell us they will never forget the overwhelming stress and hopelessness they felt as they walked in the shoes of someone facing poverty.

Since 2008, Crisis Assistance Ministry has been the local lead facilitator of the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), which is owned by the Missouri Community Action Network.  In the last four years alone, nearly 7,000 local citizens, including community leaders, business professionals, and members of faith communities, have experienced a simulation sponsored by our agency.  They often leave shaken by the role play, telling us they will never forget the overwhelming stress and hopelessness they felt as they walked in the shoes of someone facing poverty.

The ultimate goal of the Poverty Simulation is to transform these insights into action.  Executives have changed policies at their place of work and teachers have pledged to change how they treat children at school as a result of their participation.

If you are interested in hosting a poverty simulation, please contact [email protected].

If you are interested in learning more about the Missouri Community Action Network or purchasing a CAPS kit license, please visit communityaction.org or povertysimulation.net.

Participant Testimonials

Poverty Simulation F.A.Q.

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