The Bucks County Opportunity Council, in partnership with Holy Family University, will offer a free program on this coming Monday morning for those interested in learning more about poverty in the community.
The Poverty Simulation Program will be an open event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Holy Family University’s Newtown Township campus. Click here to sign up.
The Poverty Simulation is a nationally-recognized, formally structured activity, whereby participants role-play the lives of low income families to understand the challenges and choices they face working to provide for their family and maintain their home. Participants will interact with volunteers serving as human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers, and others, all while striving to get ahead. The morning ends with an exchange of ideas and a discussion of opportunities for further involvement.
Tammy B. Schoonover, director of community services at BCOC, will lead the workshop. Schoonover is a Bridges Out of Poverty Certified Instructor of the national program based on the work of Dr. Ruby K. Payne.
The most recent U.S. Census report indicated that 40,818 people in Bucks County live at or below the federal poverty level and 9% of children in Bucks are poor. In Bucks County, the third wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, a living wage for a family of three is $25 per hour. Two parents, each working a full-time, minimum wage job, earn less than two-thirds of a living wage.
The additional challenges of affordable housing, childcare costs, and transportation make it difficult for many Bucks County residents to make ends meet. As a result, the number of families using the Opportunity Council’s network of 60+ food distribution sites continues to increase and requests grow for emergency assistance to meet basic needs.
For over 50 years, the Opportunity Council has served low income families in Bucks County by helping them to stabilize when in crisis, garner resources to achieve a livable wage, gain additional education and training, and work towards economic self-sufficiency.