High school students learn the reality of living in poverty - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

High school students learn the reality of living in poverty


1 in every 10 people living in the tri-state area falls below the benchmark for being poor according to the latest statistics.

The Northeast Community Action Corporation, or NECAC, is trying to educate kids about the struggles low income families face each day.

 NECAC officials held a poverty simulation at Palmyra High School Wednesday to give students a hands-on experience on how low income families live day to day.

A long line of unemployed people competing for the same jobs...

Getting married and having kids....

All of these real life events were played out Wednesday at Palmyra High school for the poverty simulation.

"I am 36 and unemployed," said Palmyra High School Senior Brooke Butler. 

Each student, like Butler, assumed a new real world adult identity with the baggage that comes along with it.

Betty Whittaker of NECAC says the goal of the simulation is to teach kids the realities of living in poverty.

"We want them to come away with this with learning the struggles of low income families and how hard it is to make ends meet and to just make those basic needs of their families every month," said Whittaker.

Students had to balance work, daycare, and paying bills within a tight budget.

Butler says the experienced made her realize how challenging adulthood can be.

"You have to have a certain amount of money for everything. You can't spend too much on one certain thing because than you will have less money for something else," said Butler.

The same life lessons were echoed by Senior Logan Sheridan.

"I've learned it's kind of rough getting by every month like just barely scraping by," said Sheridan.

Whittaker says she hopes the students not only learn to empathize with low income families, but also take action to help.

"We want them to come away with that education and maybe that desire to go out into the community and help those that are less fortunate in any way that they can," said Whittaker.

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