‘Walk a mile in their shoes…’

Community Thread seeks volunteers for an April 30  poverty simulation during which groups make decisions on supporting a family on $3,000 a month. (Photo courtesy of Community Thread)

Community Thread seeks volunteers for an April 30 poverty simulation during which groups make decisions on supporting a family on $3,000 a month. (Photo courtesy of Community Thread)

Community Thread hopes simulation raises poverty awareness

Community Thread is about to take willing volunteers on a walk in the shoes of those living in poverty.
Agency Executive Director Valerie Jones said the organization has been trying to bring a poverty simulation to the Stillwater area for a couple of years.

“It stemmed from experiences that we’ve had through the holiday projects. The community, donors and sponsors that participate in that event have different ideas of what poverty is like in our county,” she said. “Though we’re wealthier there are places where poverty exists and we’re hoping to open the converstaion about it going forward.”

The simulation is an experiential process. People will participate in small groups of four or five people and will have to work together and make decisions about how to support a Twin Cities family on $3,000 per month. Stops along the way in the simulation include trips to doctor’s offices, unexpected car repairs, along with experiences about getting food on the table from grocery stores.

Jones said the presentation for adults — who the agency hopes to target with this presentation — will be done in small groups instead of interactive like it would be done for younger people.

“There’s a chance to talk about what they learned at the end of the presentation, it will give them a chance to reflect and share what they learned and try to brainstorm ideas about what can be done to help.” Jones said.

Jones said that the popular simulation was hard to get. Jones had originally wanted to find a simulation that fits a suburban or rural area but most of the tools she found centered on urban poverty. The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches is helping Community Thread with this simulation. Jones said there are several reasons why the simulation is important for her agency.

“We work with both sides of the equation,” she said. “We see those who are in poverty and those who are well off and we want to be of help to create a broader understanding of the concept of poverty and help those in need too.”

Although Jones said poverty is not very high-profile, it exists in Washington County and she believes a conversation must be created to for understanding within the community.

The simulation event is 9 a.m. to noon April 30 at Community Thread. Space is limited to 50 to 55 people. call 651-439-7434 to register.

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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