Dordt College News

Learning what itís like to be poor creates empathy, understanding

March 16, 2012

Dordt College social work students will lead a poverty simulation on Wednesday, March 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Campus Center.

The simulation is conducted by the junior social work students who also play the roles of different community agencies like banks, employers, mortgage companies, and more. Other participants are assigned a role to act out in the simulation. “Some play the role of newly unemployed, some are recently deserted by the ‘breadwinner,’ some are senior citizens receiving Social Security, or grandparents raising grandchildren,” said Dordt College Assistant Professor of Social Work Abby Foreman.

The purpose of the simulation is to help students and participants begin to understand and think about the decisions that low-income people must face. The task of the families is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of the four 15-minute sessions, each representing a week.

“This is a valuable experience for the juniors because they are learning how to plan and how to lead discussions, and they're also gaining an understanding of what low-income families deal with and the stresses in their lives.”

If you would like to be a participant, please RSVP to Abby Foreman at or 722-6365. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

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