Poverty Simulation

Roughly 10% of Albertans live in poverty every day.

It can be challenging for the other 90% to truly understand the situations that people and families living in poverty experience every day - the decisions they have to make, and the frustrations they feel...

The poverty simulation is an interactive and immersive learning experience where participants take on a new identity, and are challenged to make it through a simulated month with limited resources. The result is a new understanding of the realities of poverty in our local communities.

What participants have said:

"When you have a low income, there is so much thought that must go into planning how you spend your money."

"This shows the importance of community resources. As in real life, the challenge is to access the right resources in a timely manner."

"I have a background in working with people in poverty. This experience has deepened my compassion."

The poverty simulation is a group activity intended for between 30-88 participants who take on the roles of individuals, and families living with low incomes. Simulation volunteers play the roles of various community service providers like banks, employers, social service agencies and more. The activity is divided into four 15-minute weeks where participants interact with volunteers to go to work, pay their bills, and maintain their housing situation. Each family type represented is modelled after a real-life family, teetering on the edge of poverty. A debrief session (30-60 minutes) allows participants to discuss their experiences during the activity, and their thoughts about poverty in the community.


If you are interested in booking a poverty simulation for your staff or students, please contact Jaci Zalesak to discuss options (403-327-1700 - together@lethbridgeunitedway.ca ).

Public Simulations:

There are currently no public simulations scheduled.

The Community Action Poverty Simulation was developed by the Missouri Community Action Network.