From waiting in line for social services to pawning sentimental items just to feed their kids, these people are in a simulation showing them just how hard the real world can be.
"Might be someone who is suddenly out of work and cant find a new job, or an elderly woman who is widowed and trying to live on social security so it's people who might not be familiar with the system," says U of I Extension Educator, Diane Baker.
Long lines and small signs. Things got hard, real fast.
"I had no idea what it would be like, it's very frustrating."
"The reality is, a lot of our resources are hard to find in the community so my response is do some problem solving and figure it out. "
The simulation puts everyone into families, and as a team, they have to learn to survive.
"I have to go to work we need money desperately."
And a lot of times that means doing things they never thought they would.
"Our house payment is due." "I don't care about the house payment it will take years before they evict us."
"Really people get very frustrated in this situation, people are often surprised by what their reaction is and how quickly they will turn to behavior that isn't typical of them," Baker adds.
Behaviors like stealing, writing bad checks, and even abandoning children they cant afford.
"Nobody's here to take care of me, they just told me to sit down, and I'm only 1 years old, what am I supposed to do? Nobody will change my diaper, no one will feed me, no one will love me."
Spending just a few hours in lives that some can never escape.
"Give people just an idea of some of the challenges that people face when they live in a limited resource situation," says Baker.
Hoping they walk out of there wanting to make a difference.
If you want to get a group together to do a poverty simulation you can just contact the University of Illinois Extension Office.
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