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The Cattaraugus-Allegany Teachers’ Resource Center will host a Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), a learning tool created as a way to help people understand the realities of poverty.
Co-sponsored by the Cattaraugus-Allegany Teachers’ Resource Center and the School of Education at St. Bonaventure University, the March 30 poverty simulation 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. The simulation will be conducted by the Far West Network of Teacher Centers from 4 to 7 p.m. in the San Damiano Room (Francis Hall) at St. Bonaventure.
Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) will be available to educators who participate. For more information or to register, visit http://www.cateachercenter.org/poverty-simulation. The registration deadline is March 20.
“This program would be beneficial for anyone who works with children, particularly those in elementary schools, secondary schools and boards of education,” said Jill Robinson, director of the Cattaraugus-Allegany Teachers’ Resource Center.
The simulation breaks down stereotypes by allowing participants to step into the real-life situations of others. Poverty is often portrayed as a stand-alone issue — but this simulation allows individuals to walk in the shoes of someone who is facing poverty and realize how complex and interconnected issues of poverty really are.
The simulation involves participants who take on the roles of members of up to 26 families, all
facing a variety of challenging, but typical, circumstances. To start the simulation exercise,
each family is given a card explaining its unique circumstances. It is then the family’s task to provide food, shelter, and other basic necessities by accessing various community resources during the program. After the experience, individuals discuss what they have learned with their peers.
Facilitators will present relevant data regarding poverty in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties and school districts.
The goal of a poverty simulation is to bridge the gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is not a game, but is based on real Community Action clients and their lives.
Robinson said volunteers are also sought to fill roles of a police officer, utility collector, grocer, pawn broker, caseworker, schoolteacher and others in the simulation. Volunteers should also register at http://www.cateachercenter.org/poverty-simulation by March 20.
The poverty simulation is being held as a follow-up to the March 22 presentation by Jonathan Kozol, a lifelong advocate of providing equal opportunities within public schools for children of all races and economic levels. Kozol will discuss “Beyond the Testing Mania: Joy and Justice in the Classrooms of the Poor” at 6 p.m. March 22 at St. Bonaventure University. The event is free, but space is limited so reservations are required by using the electronic reservation form at www.sbu.edu/EdForum.
The Cattaraugus-Allegany Teachers’ Resource Center is New York state-grant funded and provides professional development to members in 24 schools in the two counties.
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