Often the best first step for prospective Circle Allies is to engage with Circles at a Poverty Simulation. During a simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self sufficiency on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities during the simulation while interacting with various community resources staffed by low-income volunteers.
Circles Greater Pittsburgh sponsors these events several times each year through our partnership with Just Harvest. We use the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), which is a unique tool that community agencies are able to use to educate everyone, from policy makers to local community leaders, about the day to day realities of life with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. CAPS is a copyrighted tool made available by the Missouri Association for Community Action to organizations that want to promote a greater understanding of poverty.
Although it uses “play” money and other props, fictional scenarios, and time limits, CAPS is not a game. It is a simulation tool that enables participants to view poverty from different angles in an experiential setting.