Simulation aims to open eyes to poverty realities in Alberta

For the first time ever the United Way of Central Alberta is bringing a poverty simulation to the city.

The United Way poverty simulation is coming to Wetaskiwin.

The United Way poverty simulation is coming to Wetaskiwin.

For the first time ever the United Way of Central Alberta is bringing a poverty simulation to the city.

The poverty simulation, which will be held at the Wetaskiwin Memorial Arts Centre on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., will allow participants the opportunity to experience what real Alberta families are facing in today’s economy.

Linda Mueller, Family and Community Support Services manager, stated any members of the public can participate. However, there is limit of 80 positions available.

“It’s a simulation, not a game. A simulation, they actually get to experience, in a safe environment, what poverty may feel like,” said Mueller.

Local volunteers populate the simulation as business owners, educators, police officers, agency workers, service providers, and government employees, allowing the participants to experience a full range of obstacles and challenges a recessive economy can bring.

Mueller has participated in simulations in the past and stepped into the paternal role in struggling family.

“It made a huge impact to me, and I think it’s an excellent opportunity just to experience what that may look like,” said Mueller. “I think everybody walks away with something.”

When participants arrive at the simulation they will be given a role and cards mapping out what their experiences will be comprised of.

“It really does encourage a realization,” said Mueller.

“You even learn what supports might be there you didn’t know of,” she added.

Those interested in participating can contact Kelly Wolden at kelly.wolden@wetaskiwin.ca or by calling 780-361-4425.

Mueller says anyone with questions about the simulation can contact her at 780-361-4424.

Last year Mueller had tried to bring the poverty simulation to the City of Wetaskiwin, but the United Way of Central Alberta only holds it in limited number of communities per year and Wetaskiwin was not on the list.