Written by Deb McClellan, Operations Manager, Live Well Winona
Last week I attended an event that was intended to bring awareness and education to the Winona County area. It was the 4th Annual Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) Community Collaboration Summit on Transitional and Permanent Supportive Housing. Although the agenda included speakers and other networking opportunities, the most impactful part of the evening was the Poverty Simulation exercise that we experienced.
During this live-action one hour simulation, we role-played the lives of low-income families from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self sufficiency on Social Security.
Each 15 minutes of role play was the equivalent of one week. This experience brought about a very true sense of frustration as each “family” had its own set of circumstances and obstacles to try to work through to make ends meet each month.
We ended the evening with a large sharing circle to talk about our experiences. My take-away from the evening is that there are way too many barriers, gaps, disconnects, call it what you like, to our “system”. I wish that every community official, every citizen and every high school student could take part in this as it was very eye-opening.
Tom Balsely, Program Administrator of the MN Dept. of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity said it perfectly, “we need to come together as a community to drive change.”
Who’s on board?