Poverty is a reality that confronts many residents in the Big Bend region. If you have a desire to help raise awareness in your community or within your workplace the challenges experienced by those living in poverty, we encourage you to host a Poverty Simulation.  The Poverty Simulation is designed to help participants gain an understanding of what it is like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month-to-month. The Poverty Simulation provides an opportunity to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income individuals and families while also exploring ways and ideas they can help be a part of the solution.

It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people.

What is the best number of participants?  The minimum group size is 40 and the maximum group size is 82.

Here’s how the poverty simulation works:

  • Participants assume the role of a low-income family member living on a limited budget and interact with volunteers playing the roles of bill collectors, school administrators, service providers, and more.
  • A simulation creates a community of people living in poverty for one “month” comprised of four 15-minute weeks. During this hour, each family unit must connect with community resources (i.e. schools, utility companies, social service workers, etc.) to meet their basic needs on a limited income.
  • The experience lasts about two hours. It includes an introduction, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participants and actors share their feelings and experiences and learn about ways they can get involved in reducing poverty in our community.


If you are interested in hosting this for your team, let us know by filling out the form below.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Susan@uwbb.org.