Workshop Teaches Students About Struggles Of Being Poor
The economy has hit low-income families especially hard. One in ten Nebraskans live in poverty, and the number is only going up. So, what's it like to struggle to make ends meet?
Some Siouxland students found out for themselves.
It's a once of a lifetime opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes. For some Wayne State students, learning what it's like to live below poverty was just a whistle away.
Week one begins and it's a rush because each week only lasts 15minutes. Grandma went to work, but was late. The kids went to school, but were tardy. The only thing accomplished was cashing the only paycheck that's supporting the family of four.
Then there's a small bump in the road.
"You guys, I don't have any transportation cards," said Chloe Bloomfield, Wayne State Student.
Instead of going to work, Grandma waits in line for the cards they need to get around. By the time she got through the line, her 15 minutes were up, and the week was over.
"We were trying to pay our bills, but we don't have any transportation and we haven't eaten. And, there are so many people in line at the place that you have to wait. And, by the time we got up there to get transportation and they closed," said Brystal Rubendall, Wayne State Student.
By the third week, Grandma was back to work, the groceries were paid for and the car loan was paid off.
"You need to go pay the rent or we're not going to have a house," said Rubendall,
"The mortgage place just took all of our money. That was all that we had," said
Jen Kittelson, Wayne State Student.
Before they knew it the week was over.
"It's probably a lot worse than that because I am sure it's a way longer wait than what we had to wait," said Rubendall.
It's a learning experience that many are hoping might make these students think twice.
Marilyn Fox, said, "They are only one pay check or one instance away from living in poverty and that they really need to think now about what kind of steps they are taking. And, hopefully to have a little bit more empathy who are right at that poverty guideline,"
The poverty simulation was part of the Community Action of Nebraska's 'Poverty Solution Tour'.
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