Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Poverty Immersion Experience

My school staff took part in a Poverty Immersion Experience last week.  No, this wasn't one of those things where they make you live on the street for a day, but I feel like we really got a tasts of the kinf of poverty that isn't so far away from home.  The scary thing is that my family, or many of my friend's families could end up like the pretend family I was apart of with just a couple bad things happening.  I know that we have enough is savings for us to get by for a few months, but other than that, we live paycheck to paycheck.  I think most people do.  Yet another reason I started my Shaklee business, so we could change that.  But that's not the point of this post.  I live in a fairly rural area in Texas, so I don't think about poverty that often I guess.  I don't really see it on the street corner.  Here's a map that lays it out for you.  It was borrowed from CDC.gov.  From what I can tell, there is actually quite a bit of poverty in my area.  I know there it's in my school, we have over half our kids on free and reduced lunches.

When we came inside the building, we were assigned a person to be and a family that we would be part of.  I was Ben, 42 years old with 3 kids.  My 16 year old daughter was 7 months pregnant and I had lost my job as a computer programmer 2 months ago.   My wife was working as a receptionist for a hospital for $9 an hour.  We had bills.  Nothing more than what most people have--car payment, student loans, mortgage, credit card bill, utilities, etc.  Oh, and don't forget we needed food, school supplies, new clothes and the gas to get us everywhere! 

When I got my role card and read the amount of money we made and the amount we had to pay compared to how much my wife was bringing in, it was clear we weren't going to make everything work.  We had to sell some of our belongings.  My 16 year old pregnant daughter had to stay out of school to help me go to all the places to make payments since of course internet service was one of the things that had to go!  I had to stand in line everywhere and wait to take care of things.  There just wasn't enough time for it all to get done.  I was rushing from place to place and the people weren't always very friendly.  I found it so hard to go from one place to another, that the idea of sparing time and gas to go "get help" wasn't the top priority.  In addition to the daily things that had to be taken care of, you would get dealt kind of like "chance" cards in Monopoly.  Like the car broke down, or a family member sent you some money. 

Anyhow, the reason we did this was to see what it might be like to be down on our luck.  I was only in that situation for an hour and it was exhausting.  I can only imagine why parents don't come to the parent teacher conferences, or why some students come to school dirty, hungry, without homework done or falling asleep.  It was such a moving experience and I'm glad I got to be part of it.  You can click here to go to the website for the place that put this activity on for us:  Center of Hope.  I am so grateful for God's grace on my family and how even when things have been tight, he's brought us through it.


  1. That's a really neat thing for your school to do! I found you via Pinterest and searching for crock pot freezer recipes :) I'm also a teacher (PreK) and while I only work half days, I really need to get into the routine of having a good meal every night. Enjoying your site!

  2. Thanks! I am so glad you're enjoying the site!


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