WVUP Poverty Simulation

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Sometimes it makes a whole lot of difference when you put yourself in someone else's shoes.

35 students and faculty, along with 12 volunteers participated in a poverty simulation at WVUP.
They were put into a family and told what their living conditions would be like, including their health.

"(It) Brought reality to the people that were actually participating in the simulation. And it seemed like at first they were all really working hard to get their game plan and figure out how to make it work, and it was very interesting to watch the dynamic," said Coordinator Michele Wilson.

They had a set amount of money to pay bills and buy food. There was an illegal activities station as well.

"And see how some people had to turn to a life of crime to survive, and that was interesting, and it was sad in ways," said Wilson.

After everything was over, the discussion turned to real life application and how there are people that go through this every day.

"I loved hearing the feed back at the end, the people taking about what they took from the simulation. And thinking about the students, that we deal with here at WVU Parkersburg, and some of them go through these situations, and the different experiences," said Wilson.

Director Richard Fleisher has been doing these simulations for 15 years and does about three to four a year.

"I think it gives people in a short period of time, experience that encourages them to reflex on what poverty is like, and what the challenges are that people who live in poverty face and the people who serve people in poverty face in terms of giving everyone an equal opportunity for success in life," said Richard Fleisher, WVU Extension Specialist.

Fleisher says this was a wonderful group to work with at WVUP and he believes they really learned a lot, as they were very enthusiastic about the roles they played and took it very seriously.

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