Thanks to the generous support of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, staff from the Multicultural Leadership Program (MCLP) and the YWCA McLean County will receive two days of training in early August to equip them to spread awareness of poverty throughout the McLean County area. The YWCA will be represented by Melissa Breeden, senior director of Young Wonders, and Jenn Carrillo, director of Mission Impact. MCLP’s representative is Executive Director Linda Bollivar.
The MCLP and the YWCA will co-sponsor a poverty simulation on Saturday, October 20, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the YWCA McLean County (1201 N Hershey Rd, Bloomington). This event will utilize a poverty simulation kit owned by the Illinois State University Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and will be led by the newly trained staff. The poverty simulation is included in MCLP’s nine month intense leadership development program, with a goal of increasing understanding of socio-economic diversity.
This event is open to the public, and registration is required for both participants and volunteers. Individuals who have not experienced a simulation are invited to register to participate. Those who have already experienced the event are encouraged to register through the same link and select the ‘volunteer’ option.
The experience of living in poverty strikes close to the hearts of individuals in our local communities: according to the Heartland Alliance 2018 Poverty Report released in July, McLean County has the 8th highest poverty level in the state of Illinois. More than 20,000 McLean County residents are reportedly living in poverty, which translates to a poverty rate of 20.6 percent.
MCLP Executive Director Linda Bollivar says, “This simulation is an eye-opening experience for those who have never faced the difficult choices of those living in poverty. Through the support of IPCF, and partnership with both the YWCA McLean County and the ISU Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, we are able to offer this event to supplement the poverty simulations offered by the University of Illinois Extension Offices.”