While poverty in Collin County is often unrecognized, it certainly does exist. However, Sociology Professor Dr. John Glass notes that many in Collin County still maintain a limited knowledge of what it’s like to live below the U.S. poverty line. This is likely a result of the typical affluence within the community in comparison with the remainder of the country.
Each year, Collin College seeks to educate students, faculty and community members of the real-life challenges faced by people who battle conditions surrounding a low socio-economic situation.
This year’s Poverty Simulation, sponsored by the Center for Scholarly and Civic Engagement (CSCE) and facilitated by the Region 10 Education Center, will take place from 6-10 p.m. on Nov. 12 in the Preston Ridge Campus Conference Center, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco.
CSCE Director Dr. Terry Hockenbrough said the evening gives participants an opportunity to learn about significant issues in the community.
Participants engage in an interactive and fast-paced scenario, take on family roles and try to make ends meet with limited resources and limited time. The scenario is set up as a four-week period where participants are placed in family units of mixed demographics, all struggling with different family circumstances. They must juggle family, transportation, food, unemployment, crime, childcare issues and navigating the social service assistance maze.
“The simulation also expands their perspective in the area of dignity and respect and empowers them to serve in the community to resolve real needs,” Dr. Hockenbrough said.
Dr. Glass described how participants quickly realize there are certain trade-offs they will be required to make.
“You end up debating issues like whether risking Child Protective Services’ intervention for leaving your children alone is worth going to work so you can provide for them,” Dr. Glass said.
Dr. Glass mentioned many people wonder, with so many programs designed to aid poverty, why so many people remained in this cycle. The poverty simulation enlightens them to some of the possible answers.
“Attendees learn it’s less about individual character and more about situational demands,” Dr. Glass explained.
Dr. Hockenbrough and Dr. Glass agree that the event connects students to their critical-thinking skills and emotions, making them more aware of stigmas and their own prejudices.
“Typically, participants are most surprised by how quickly they become so personally and emotionally involved in the scenario,” Dr. Hockenbrough said. “It is, however, in that personal connection where real learning takes place.”
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required for all participants. To register, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PovSimFall13. For more information, contact the Center for Scholarly and Civic Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972.881.5927.