Penn State Shenango Student to Facilitate Local Poverty Simulator Project
Penn State Shenango in conjunction with Community Action Program and Community Food Warehouse will host a Poverty Simulator event from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 4 in the Penn State Shenango auditorium located in downtown Sharon, Pa.
Through the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), Penn State Shenango faculty, staff, and students, as well as some local business people, will experience what it is like to walk in the shoes of those who live in poverty every day.
The CAPS provides participants with the opportunity to assume the role of a low-income family member living on limited budget. The experience is divided into four - 15 minute sessions, each of which represents one week in which you must provide for your family and maintain your home. As one participant commented, “This poverty simulation dramatically demonstrates how much time and energy many families have to give just to survive from day to day. It quickly dispels the myth ‘that people would do fine if they would only go out and get a job!’”
46 million Americans, 13 million of whom are children under the age of 18, live in poverty every day. Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for Food Stamps and Medicaid. The recent downturn has seen unemployment rates rise and the use of emergency food pantries increase.
The facilitator of this event is Penn State Shenango Human Development and Family Study student Summer Knapp who is currently doing her internship project under the direction of Penn State Shenango Instructor of Human Development and Family Studies Holly Kihm as a research assistant. Knapp is completing her research while working at the Community Food Warehouse and, as part of her research, she volunteered to organize the CAPS project using Penn State faculty, staff and students. In addition to facilitator of the CAPS project, Knapp is co-coordinator and lead data collector for the National Feeding America Hunger Study in Mercer County.
“I am so happy to be able to organize and facilitate this first local poverty simulation,” stated Knapp. “I hope the students who are participating in this project, most of whom are human development and family studies or administration of justice majors, will experience first-hand what it might be like for the clients that they will be working with in their future positions.”