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Freshmen learn about poverty

Freshmen learn about poverty


By Community Resources Staff

On April 2, 2019, the Office of Community Resources hosted a series of events as part of the 2019 National Service Recognition Day to spotlight the great work AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members do every day as national service participants. 

AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members facilitated four Poverty Simulations for 316 Waynesville High School freshmen to help students understand the day-to-day realities of life faced by low-income families and to motivate them to become involved in activities which help to reduce poverty.  

Students were assigned roles in families, such as a child, a single parent, part of a dual parent family or a grandparent raising grandkids. They experienced what it might be like to be part of a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. The families had to make decisions on going to work or school and which bills to pay. 

Volunteers filled the roles of resource agencies such as the food pantry, health clinic day care, employment center, realtor/mortgage company, welfare office, grocery stores, pawn shops and more. Students stated it was more stressful than anticipated and one said that “it made me see the opportunities and blessings I have.” Many families that had delinquent mortgages watched as the landlord handed out eviction notices and they lost their homes.  

One student shared, “we were struggling since the beginning and it was so hard to catch up: That just shows me that the people going through this aren’t lying when they say it is hard to get out of the hole.”

Kymberly Rodriguez, sssistant principal said, “Our 9th graders are very fortunate to experience the Poverty Simulations.  It was an eye-opening experience for many of them and hopefully, it enables them to look at poverty from a different viewpoint and with a certain level of understanding and compassion.”

In addition to conducting the poverty simulations, an exhibit was set up highlighting AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA projects and programs. Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman, Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Command Sergeant Major Faith Alexander, Waynesville R-VI School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Henry and assistant superintendents, Dr. Trish Adkins and Hilary Bales, and Waynesville R-VI School Board member Dan Deering were briefed by Office of Community Resources Director Courtney Long, Assistant AmeriCorps Director John Box and AmeriCorps VISTA leaders about the programs.


"Issued May 1, 2019"

Poverty Poverty