Greater Capital Region Teacher Center

Missouri Community Action Poverty Simulation
GCRTC is proud to offer the 
Missouri Community Action Network Poverty Simulation 

There is NO COST to participating schools. 
To schedule contact:

What is the Poverty  Simulation?
The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants understand what it is like to live in poverty and try to make ends meet from month to month. It is a simulation, not a game. The primary objective is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income individuals and families and to educate the participants about the challenges that people living in poverty must address every day. Participants experience how these challenges can affect the behaviors, beliefs, and health of these individuals. It provides educators with a better understanding of the social and academics effects of poverty on the students they serve. 

In the simulation, 50-80 participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty. Some family members are newly unemployed, some are recently deserted by the "breadwinner," some are homeless. Others are senior citizens receiving disability or retirement payments or grandparents raising grandchildren. The task of the "families" is to provide for basic necessities (food, shelter, medical care, etc.) during the course of four "weeks". Throughout the simulation, individuals must complete a series of tasks that involve interacting with community services and resources, schools, businesses, landlords, etc. to aid them in surviving. 

At the end of the simulation, participants reflect upon the experience during an organized debriefing session. In addition, educators identify how poverty is affecting their students emotionally, behaviorally, and academically. The entire simulation and debriefing can take up to 3 hours.

Why a Poverty Simulation?
Childhood poverty is an epidemic. Schools are serving more and more students who are experiencing many of the adverse childhood experiences for which poverty is a serious risk factor. These adverse experiences put students at an educational disadvantage. 

As educators, we cannot do it all, but we are uniquely placed. When conducted in a whole school or district, the Poverty Simulation reconnects educators with the reason they were called to the profession.  A reinvigorated sense of empathy is evoked as participants feel what it is like to experience some of the challenges that are so common for families struggling with poverty. This energizes participants and drives them to want to take meaningful action in their classrooms, schools and communities. 

As educational leaders, strategically planning a Poverty Simulation prior to or within existing efforts to improve outcomes for students living in poverty, you will enhance educators' understanding of the issues low-income students' families face. More importantly, you will provide them with an experience that will stick with them as they make the classroom and school changes needed to more fully support the success of students struggling with poverty.

Our Staff
GCRTC is a leader in conducting Poverty Simulations for schools. Trained directly by Missouri Community Action staff, and having conducted more Poverty Simulations than any other provider in the Greater Capital Region, GCRTC is able to provide high-quality Poverty Simulation experiences customized specifically for educational audiences.

The Catch
We underwrite the entire cost of this transformative learning experience because we want to help you drive educational change-That's it. We ask only that you provide a follow-up experience for your staff that allows them to act upon their learning from the Simulation. There are many no-cost options you can provide in house, as well as some regional opportunities that the Center funds. We are happy to meet with you to discuss the options. 

Please contact us as dates for the 2016-2017 School Year are booking quickly. 
Should we not have a specific date you need available, 
we work with a number of other providers, to whom we can refer you. 

Please contact director, Valerie Lovelace for more information:


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