Check out the ‘Poverty Simulation’ event coming up in Red Deer

Participants get a sense of what it’s like to live on very limited means

Local residents can get a sense of what it’s like to get by on very little via a Poverty Simulation, hosted by the United Way of Central Alberta, Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance and the Radisson.

The event runs Feb. 21st from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel.

Admission is free, but space is limited to 80. Please register at 403-343-3900 or info@unitedway.ca.

“We have hosted a number of them since 2014,” said Lori Jack, community impact development officer with the United Way. “Participants will have a heightened awareness and understanding of what a family who is living with a lower, limited income – what they would experience on a day-to-day basis,” she explained.

“Participants are put into family groups – they might be a grandparent, they might be a youth – they could be a mom or a dad. That group is then given a profile and money to live through the month.

“They get to experience a month in 15-minute intervals. They have to get to their jobs, and they have to drop the kids off at childcare, and they have to go and pay their utility bills – all that kind of stuff that you have to do,” she said.

Again, each family has to make do with a lower and limited income. Therefore, participants will have to make decisions about how they will make it through each week.

And of course, some unexpected events pop up as well – which of course demand time and expenses.

“They have to respond and deal with those as well,” she said. “The experience is about what it takes to navigate each and every week to get you to the end of the month.”

Feedback is always encouraging as well.

People will comment on how stressful it was to have to budget so strictly. “As much as it’s a simulation, you feel stressed about how you couldn’t feed your family or how waiting at the bank was so stressful.

“Most come away also realizing how hard it is to navigate each week when you are worried about money all of the time,” she said. “These are hard choices, not luxurious choices.”

According to a release, participation in the event will challenge perceptions, change perspectives and strengthen understanding and empathy.

“Participants can register right up to the day, they just have to contact me.”

Again, to register call 403-343-3900 or email info@unitedway.ca.

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