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Living on the Edge

Imagine having to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table for your family.

Can’t choose? You shouldn’t have to.

Living on the Edge: A poverty simulation

Living on the Edge is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. In the simulation, participants assume the role of a different family member facing poverty. It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by members of their community. Some families are newly unemployed, some are recently deserted by the “breadwinner”, some are homeless, and some are recipients of social assistance either with or without additional earned income. Others are senior citizens receiving disability or pension, or grandparents raising their grandchildren.

The Participant Experience

The task of the “families” is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of 4, 15-minute “weeks”. The simulation is conducted in a large room with the “families” seated in groups in the centre of the room. Around the perimeter are tables representing community resources and services for the families.

The experience lasts from 2 to 3 hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings, experiences and talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty.

Stay tuned for our next simulation happening near you!

The Volunteer Experience

Volunteers are recruited to staff the resource tables and are also recruited to assume the roles of police officer and an “illegal activities” person. You may be working as a bank teller, shelter director or social development intake staff. No matter what your role, you will experience some of the stresses of working with people living in low-income. Your role will be to ensure they are paying their bills, picking up their food boxes or taking care of their kids at school.

Stay tuned for our next simulation happening near you!