Ministry Howard Young Health Care employees from Woodruff and Eagle River recently participated in a Poverty Simulation to sensitize leaders and employees to the realities faced by people who have limited incomes.
The simulation experience was designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to be part of a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. During the simulation, staff were put in the position of role-playing a low-income family member with various resources and barriers scripted for them. Some were newly unemployed, some were deserted by the breadwinner, and others were disabled or senior citizens on Social Security. The simulation was a powerful experience for giving new understanding of what it’s like to live in poverty.
“A brief presentation on the demographics of poverty in Vilas County was provided at the start of the simulation, which set the tone for the activity, and reinforced the reality of poverty in our cities,” said Sheila Clough, President, Ministry Howard Young Health Care.
The Poverty Simulation is a University of Wisconsin – Extension educational program. The ROWEL Poverty Simulation is a program created by the Reform Organization of Welfare (ROWEL) Education Association of Missouri. Joan E. LeFebvre, University of Wisconsin – Extension Family Living Agent, was the facilitator.
Volunteers from the Howard Young Medical Center Auxiliary, Partners – Auxiliary of Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital, and the Lakeland Food Pantry assisted with the simulation.
Participation in this exercise exemplifies Ministry Health Care’s commitment to the four core values of Presence, Service, Vision, and Justice. The simulation encouraged staff to serve as an advocate for the most vulnerable and act responsibly on their behalf.
“The simulation was very eye opening,” said Dawn Gapko, Director of Patient Care Services and Operations, Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital. “We experienced some of the set-backs and choices that families are forced to make on a daily basis, and it was frustrating to prioritize our needs, with the little we had available to us.”
Following the simulation there was a de-briefing discussion.