The Junior League of Cincinnati’s Eye-Opening Experience at the St. Vincent De Paul Poverty Simulation 

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Authors: Erica Bock, Julie Rasfeld
Contributor: Mary Taliaferro

Recently, the Junior League of Cincinnati’s (JLC) New Members delved into a poignant poverty simulation and workshop hosted by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP). This immersive two-hour training provided members with a unique opportunity to gain profound insights into the pervasive nature of poverty and its far-reaching impact on individuals and families within our community.

Kicking off with an overview of SVDP’s history and a comprehensive exploration of the multifaceted dimensions of poverty, participants were equipped with the necessary context before engaging in the simulation.

During the simulation, participants assumed distinct personas, each reflective of individuals grappling with poverty. These personas encapsulated crucial details such as income, employment status, family dynamics, and financial obligations. Armed with this information, participants were confronted with tasks mirroring the challenges of life within the constraints of poverty, resulting in a universally acknowledged, arduous, and eye-opening experience.

Following the simulation, participants shared their perspectives, highlighting the difficulties associated with managing bills, childcare, and the agonizing choices between rent, medication, and food. For many who had not previously encountered poverty firsthand, this exercise offered a newfound understanding of the daily struggles faced by members of their community.

Adding a valuable perspective to the discourse, New Member Advisor Mary Taliaferro remarked, “The Poverty Simulation was an eye-opening experience. The New Members learned about the difficulties and struggles that people in our community experience every day. SVDP did a great training session before and after the simulation.”

The New Members departed the workshop with several key takeaways that underscored their commitment to making a positive impact within their sphere of influence:

  • Support Within Our Influence: Committed to aiding those in need, JLC members pledged their support through volunteer work, donations, and acts of generosity. Organizations like St. Vincent de Paul offer tangible opportunities for involvement.
  • Kindness and Compassion: Recognizing the universality of challenges, they emphasized the importance of kindness and understanding towards others.
  • Advocacy for Systemic Change: Acknowledging the significance of addressing poverty’s root causes, they expressed their commitment to advocating for policies and programs that bring about meaningful systemic change.

The St. Vincent de Paul Poverty Simulation training comes highly recommended for any organization seeking a deeper understanding of poverty. The Junior League of Cincinnati enthusiastically encourages others to partake in this transformative experience, believing it to be a crucial step towards positively impacting their community. The insights gained by New Members during the St. Vincent de Paul Poverty Simulation event equip them to make a meaningful difference in the face of poverty’s formidable challenges.