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Our Mission: Pro Action works to build a community of resilient individuals and families who can meet their basic needs, overcome adversity, and prosper








What is a Poverty Simulation? 

Millions of Americans, many whom are children under the age of 18, live in poverty every day. While this affects communities all across the country, and while we may seem removed from it, the reality is this is happening in your Steuben County communities.  Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs like SNAP and Medicaid. 

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every-day –the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel. 

Using a poverty simulation kit, participants role-play the lives of low-income families.  Some are TANF recipients, some have disabilities, and others are senior citizens on Social Security.  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 human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officer and others.  Taking part in a poverty simulation allows participants to walk a mile in the shoes of those facing poverty.

The simulation enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities. The simulation was 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.

Quotes from simulation participants:

“I didn't think about the fact that some people have no means of transportation to get help from agencies.”

“It helped me to better relate to the circumstances of some of my students and has helped me to be more understanding and gracious.”

“Realizing the tough choices that people have to make because of lack of money.”

“Frustration; continuing circle of going no-where.”

“All of the experiences brought an awareness to the situations many people face. I did not realize how mean others treat people based on social status.”

“Stressful making all the ends meet. It was hard to decide what to spend the little money we had on. Also it was difficult not to include the children on decisions that had to be made. We tried to exclude them so they didn’t need to worry but it was impossible.”



Pro Action is a proud supporter of the
United Way of the Southern
School Matters! community-wide attendance initiative. To learn more about why good school attendance is essential to success in school, click here for information and links to other helpful resources.


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