Resilience 101

Poverty Simulation

What is a Poverty Simulation? 

Millions of Americans, many whom are children under the age of 18, live in poverty every day. While this affects communities all across the country, and while we may seem removed from it, the reality is this is happening in your local communities. Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs like SNAP and Medicaid.

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every-day – the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel.

Using a poverty simulation kit, participants role-play the lives of low-income families. Some are TANF recipients, some are disabled, and others are senior citizens on Social Security. They have the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute “weeks”. They interact with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officer and others. Taking part in a poverty simulation allows participants to walk a mile in the shoes of those facing poverty.

The simulation enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities. The simulation was designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families as well as to create a broader awareness of poverty among policymakers, community leaders, and others.

Quotes from simulation participants.

To host a Poverty Simulation, contact:

Amey Rusak, CCAP
Associate Executive Director
Office: 607-776-2125 ext. 319


Zack Housworth, CCAP
Aging Services Director
Office: 315-536-5180


View the 2020 Poverty Rates for:


Additional Information:

Trauma Informed Care

Trauma occurs when a person is overwhelmed by events or circumstances and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Extreme stress overwhelms the person’s capacity to cope. There is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.

Click on the image below to learn more about How to Manage Trauma


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are serious childhood traumas that result in toxic stress that can harm a child’s brain. This toxic stress may prevent a child from learning, from playing a healthy way with other children, and can result in long-term health problems.

Click on the image below to learn more about Stress & Early Brain Growth, and Understanding ACEs.

We Can Prevent ACEs – a video from the CDC.

The ACEs Study Continues: Violence Prevention


Resilience is the ability to return to being healthy and hopeful after bad things happen. Research shows that if parents provide a save environment for their children and teach them how to be resilient, that helps reduce the effects of ACEs.

Click on the image below to learn more about how Resilience Trumps ACEs.

Additional Resources:

SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

Video: ACEs Primer – featuring educational media from Paper Tigers and Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope

Watch Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ Ted Talk Session on YouTube: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

Click on the images below to learn more about how Pro Action is working toward becoming a Trauma Informed Organization

Contact us to learn more about our Trauma Informed Care Initiative, and information about hosting a screening of the film: Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope

Margie Lawlor, Kids On Track Steuben
607-776-2125 ext. 312

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