On November 5th 80 Lake Highlands area residents participated in the Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE). Upon arrival, participants assumed the role of real-life individuals living in poverty. They were given a budget, medical conditions, addictions, children, living conditions, jobs, and other factors. With these realities in mind, they then lived in the shoes of the individuals they were assigned.
Attending meetings, going to school, visiting their social worker, standing in line for benefits or applying for work. They attempted to pay rent, feed their children, buy medicine, pay fees, etc. with limited resources and all the challenges presented by their circumstances. The simulation breaks a month into four fifteen minute, week-long segments.
When the simulation was completed all participants joined in a roundtable discussion of their experience. They shared their frustrations along with what they learned and how they struggled. Some people shared how their perceptions had changed due to the simulation, and others learned greater compassion and patience.
Another COPE is scheduled for March 2018. Don't miss it!