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Poverty simulation hosted at Westminster College

by Anakin Bush | February 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun Delsa Byrd sits at her table at the poverty simulation. Byrd served as mortgage and realty. The simulation was hosted by Central Missouri Community Action and Westminster College.

Central Missouri Community Action and Westminster College teamed up to host a poverty simulation Wednesday evening at the Mueller Center on Westminster's campus.

At the event, students spent a simulated month living in poverty and having to balance their needs. Participants were put in groups of three or four, and given a packet that described their family and living situation.

The simulation was based upon CMCA clients and their daily lives.

Stations were set up around the room and run by volunteers. The stations were based on a variety of necessary services, including a general employer, school and homeless shelter.

Around 50 students participated in the event, and there were about 35 volunteers.

Participants in the simulation had to undergo activities that fit with the person they were assigned. This includes adults going to work and children going to school.

The simulation consisted of four 15 minute sessions that each reflected one week of time in the activity.

The goal of the poverty simulation was to spread poverty awareness, increase understanding and inspire change in the local community.

Delsa Byrd was one volunteer who helped with the simulation. She ran the mortgage and realty table. When participants came to her to pay their mortgage, she was supposed to be hard on them.

"So I might have to give out a couple of eviction notices, let them know that our records show that your payment is overdue," Byrd said.

Each of the tables at the simulation interacted with each other to provide opportunities for the participants.

This was not the first poverty simulation Byrd has volunteered for.

She said she continues to volunteer for the simulations to help educate people on important issues and topics.

"I just want to help be a part of educating the community on what things really are and what they are really like. If I can help bring some kind of reality to that, that will cause people to think and look at situations differently," Byrd said.

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