Over 80 students from Medicine Hat College (MHC) will be participating in the United Way’s Living on the Edge Poverty Simulation on Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Terrace Room in Chinook Village.
The simulation is an interactive experience that highlights the barriers facing low-income individuals in Medicine Hat. Participants are assigned a role as a service provider or a family member. They experience the day-to-day challenges through four, 15 minute weeks (which equal a month). After the simulation is over, a facilitator conducts a brief session inviting participants to discuss their experience.
“It’s an everyday reality we know approximately 7200 hatters face. This program is a way to help showcase the complexity and frustrations of living in poverty day-to-day,” says Holly Stadnicki, executive director with the United Way of South Eastern Alberta. “These students will be service providers in our area once they graduate; it’s good for them to be on the other side to gain a great understanding and empathy for individuals experiencing poverty.”
This is the second time that the United Way will be doing the simulation.
“In September some of our students in the community health nursing class were lucky enough to participate - it was such a powerful experience for them,” says JoDee Wentzel, nursing instructor at MHC. “They gained an understanding of the struggles that people living in poverty face each day. This year, we are fortunate to be able to open this up to students in child and youth care, social work, addictions counselling and the paramedic programs.”
Wentzel says she feels this simulation is valuable to her students as it exposes them to a different perspective and vulnerable populations. She along with Sandra Fritz, an instructor with the nursing program arranged to have this session available to their students.
Stadnicki says that the organization is willing to hold a simulation for anyone interested in learning about poverty. They ask that groups be made of 30 to 80 people.
“We just want to host as many poverty simulations as we can, just to enable participants to recognize the challenges some hatter face from a variety of angles; which will hopefully encourage them to acknowledge and discuss the potential for change within our local communities,” says Stadnicki.
To learn more about the poverty simulation visit www.utdway.ca.
If you are interested in exploring the programs available to you at MHC visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
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