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Are you considering a poverty simulation for your organization? Excellent! This is a great opportunity to have experiential learning that will help participants understand the struggle of living in poverty, of being unable to meet your basic needs.

How does the simulation work?

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Your participants will assume the role of an individual who does not have enough to survive. Upon entering the room, they will sit in a chair with a name tag and assume this role for the simulation. Around the perimeter of the room (example room set up here) will be simulated organizations and businesses that the participant will utilize during the simulation. For example, if the participant’s assumed role is employed, they will go to the General Employer for a portion of the simulation. The simulation will consist of four 20 minute weeks, as well as a 10 minute introduction and a 30 minute debrief. The debrief is critical to the learning from the simulation, so the event must be advertised as a 2 hour experience.  

What are the key points when considering hosting a Poverty Simulation?

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  • The simulation will take about two hours.

  • SCCAP will need two hours to set up the simulation (that does not include room set up which must be done prior to SCCAP staff and volunteers arriving)

  • You must have between 60 and 150 individuals to host a simulation. We must have at least 60 participants – if the simulation is too small, the process could inadvertently support stereotypes. We also can’t do two simulations in one day because the rebuild process takes more than a day.

  • You must have a large space, please see this diagram. You will need enough space to have enough chairs for all your participants in the middle of the room (in groupings of three) and tables around the perimeter of the room. For example, a room the size of a basketball court.

  • The simulation is not designed for children or teens – they do not have the life experience to make the simulation meaningful.

  • You must schedule your simulation at least two months in advance and we must know the number of participants expected. You must notify SCCAP staff one week in advance of the confirmed number who will be attending – unfortunately if there are less than 60 participants confirmed for the simulation, we will need to cancel the simulation.

  • We will need some volunteers to assist with the simulation – it takes 15 – 20 people to staff the simulation (in addition to the 60 we need to participate), typically the hosting group provides half of the needed volunteers.

  • We request a donation of $500+ for the simulation – this is a labor-intensive training requiring more than 50 SCCAP hours per simulation as well as the cost for missing or destroyed items. Your donation helps to cover those costs.

Poverty Simulation Request Form

(please list 3 or 4 dates as potentials)
Phone number of contact person *
Phone number of contact person
Please acknowledge that you understand and agree to the following *
Requirements for the simulation are not designed to make the process difficult but are required to ensure we have a good learning environment for your participants, and to ensure we are good stewards of SCCAP staff and volunteer time and resources.