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Member Spotlight: Pathways to Prosperity

Posted By Sophia Raymond, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nonprofits First is showcasing the extraordinary work of nonprofits in Palm Beach County and beyond.

 

This month, we focus on Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), an anti-poverty community nonprofit in Boynton Beach (and member of Nonprofits First).

 

P2P is pushing the envelope in helping hundreds of low-income families overcome poverty and become economically well-off. They run many programs including the Poverty Simulation, which educates residents about the pains of living in poverty.

 

Read on to learn how the Poverty Simulation is making a big difference.

 

 

“I’m a drug dealer – watch out,” a woman told a crowd of people rushing through a fictitious town created in a large meeting room of Pathways to Prosperity (P2P).

 

Dozens of people dart away from her, but a few desperate residents seek her out to get jobs selling drugs. They need work to feed their families because they can’t find other kinds of employment and have mounting expenses to pay off.

 

It’s how the drug trade grows in this fictitious world -- as well as in the real world.

 

These were the real-world lessons of a recent Poverty Simulation exercise aimed at showing business and community members what it is truly like to live in poverty in Palm Beach County.

 

About 70 participants took part in the three-hour simulation in Boynton Beach in June. They heard stories and acted out examples of what it takes to earn a living wage in the county.

 

A family of four needs to earn about $61,000 a year to live in Palm Beach County – which is nearly impossible for families lacking higher education, reliable transportation, safe housing, and the ability to work. About 176,000 people in Palm Beach County live in poverty (close to 12% of the population), data shows.

 

“We hosted the Poverty Simulation so people can understand just how hard it is for many families to live in Palm Beach County,” said P2P CEO Kemberly Bush. “That’s why we have a drug dealer in our simulation because, in the real world, desperate people fall into the drug trade if they have no other options.”

 

P2P hosts the simulations in conjunction with Palm Beach County Community Action Program. The exercises are also connected to the National Circles Campaign, another program that P2P is a part of and focuses on educating individuals on how to climb out of poverty and become prosperous.

 

The Poverty Simulation is based on real-life scenarios from careful research.

 

During the exercise, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, including single parents, people with disabilities, and senior citizens on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide for food, shelter and other basic necessities during four, 15-minute "weeks.” 

 

Although the simulation uses "play" money, fictional scenarios and time limits, it’s not meant to be a game. Participants get to immerse themselves in their characters, view poverty from different angles, and then discuss the potential for change within local communities. More importantly, the exercise is designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families and create a broader awareness among policymakers and community leaders.

 

P2P will host the next Poverty Simulation in October. It’s part of the organization’s mission to improve the social, mental, spiritual, economic and emotional well-being of children and families through education and social services.

 

The agency and its partners are hoping to cut the region’s poverty level by 10% within the next 10 years.

 

“We can do it – I know we can,” Kem said. “Our goal is to come up with policies, programs and most of all education, through initiatives such as the Poverty Simulation, so more and more people in the community understand what it’s like to be a low-income family trying to survive from month-to-month.”

 

Learn more about P2P here.

 

If interested in learning about the next Poverty Simulation, contact Kemberly Bush at: kbush@p2ppbc.org

Tags:  Financial Empowerment  Nonprofit  Pathways to Prosperity  Poverty 

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