Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 8:30pm
Dobbs Ferry Campus

Students and faculty from the Mercy College School of Health and Natural Sciences will participate in a unique poverty simulation designed to better help them understand the complexities and frustrations experienced by future patients who are living in poverty.


The simulation exercise takes place on the Dobbs Ferry Campus on March 1 from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Mercy Hall Rotunda. It is designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families as well as to create a broader awareness of poverty among policymakers, community leaders and others. Participants will role-play the lives of low-income families, including some who are disabled, and some senior citizens on Social Security. During the exercise, they have the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute "weeks."  They interact with other participants role-playing representatives of human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and others.  "This program helps people understand the reality of living in poverty day to day," said Dr. Kathleen Golisz, Associate Dean of the School for Health and Natural Sciences.  "With a greater awareness of its impact, our students can more effectively address the poverty issues in our community." More than 40.6 million individuals in the United States are living at or below federal poverty level, according to 2015 census data.  In New York State 15.7 percent of the population is living in poverty, struggling to meet basic needs. In Westchester 9.6 percent of people are living in poverty; in the Bronx that number jumps to 30.7 percent. The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to discuss strategies for dealing with it within their local communities.  The Executive Director of the Missouri Association for Community Action, which created this program and made it available nationwide, says, “This is the everyday reality for tens of thousands of people in New York.  Understanding that reality will help us change it.”  The Missouri Association for Community Action is a network of community action agencies throughout the state that provide a variety of services to low-income individuals and families. Please visit their website at www.communjtaction.orq to find out more about the poverty simulation.