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SCAN’s Richmond CASA program joined Henrico CASA and Chesterfield CASA to host a poverty simulation for 60 volunteers and 17 staff members, board members and community partners. Both Goochland and Hanover CASA programs also participated.
“It was very successful and we hope to be able to offer it to other CASA programs and community groups,” said Jana Blue, SCAN’s Volunteer Coordinator.
During this simulation, participants role-played the lives of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security. Each “family” had to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities during the simulation while interacting with various community resources.
The simulation enabled participants to view poverty from different angles, while allowing low-income volunteers to interact with leaders from their community.
“This simulation affected me profoundly,” said Ginny, a Richmond CASA volunteer. “I have shared what I experienced that Saturday with a number of people. Several of them commented that they would love to participate in a similar presentation.”
Participants also heard from guest speaker Christie Marra, Esq. from the Virginia Poverty Law Clinic who discussed the state of poverty in the Richmond area and the social impact that poverty has on children and families.
The University of Richmond hosted a poverty simulation in January, which inspired Jana and Jeannine Panzera, Henrico CASA Program Manager, to offer the simulation to local CASA volunteers, staff, and partners. With a grant from the Department of Criminal Justice Services, Jeannine participated in a facilitators training in Missouri and purchased the simulation kit.