The MCLP Class of 2011 better understands socioeconomic diversity after participating in a poverty simulation workshop on September 11 at the Western Avenue Community Center in Bloomington. During the simulation, participants were able to see the real-world obstacles of families who live in poverty and are struggling to meet their basic needs, such as food and shelter.
For Class of 2010 MCLP graduate Michael Donnelly, a school youth interventionist for Normal West/Project Oz, the simulation proved to be a powerful experience when he participated in it a year ago. Donnelly noted, “Having come from a low-income background, it was interesting to see how others responded to real-life situations. The program served as a reminder to me, how difficult it is for low-income families, disabled citizens, and the elderly to navigate through the services available and the level of planning it takes for them to survive month to month.”
He added, “One of the goals for MCLP is to understand diversity. I think when we use that word diversity we get focused on cultural diversity, and this program helps one understand the diversity in economics – low income, middle class, and wealthy. It also helps you see how as a community leader you have to broaden your vision to see how your decisions can affect other citizens in the community.”
– Jamie Leffelman Wood