Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (WCBD) – Meeting Street Schools & Palmetto Community Action Partnership teaming up today to address poverty head-on as hosts to a poverty simulation for teachers.
In the Tri-County, poverty has a lot of different faces and is spread across many zip codes. According to data, the poverty rate here is higher than the national average. Today, educators from Meeting Street Schools put themselves in the shoes of many of the children they teach as they experienced not having enough money to meet basic needs, like food, clothing, and shelter.
The poverty simulation had more than 370 teachers and faculty from Meeting Street Schools participate in role-play of the lives of low-income families.
Dirk Bedford, Principal of Meeting Street Academy- Downtown, Charleston, says, “We want our teachers to be able to step into the shows of our families and understand the pressures and the stress that they face, so that when our kids come back to us next week, we can be better servants for kids and better servants for our families.”
They used play money & pretend identities, but the lessons learned about poverty are very real.
Some of the participants experienced the stress of not being able to pay rent or buy groceries while others had more than enough to last them until their next ‘paycheck’. Palmetto Community Action Partnership tells us that in Charleston County in order to afford a market-rate, 2 bedroom apartment you need to make $19 an hour, but minimum wage here is $7.25. Wealth disparity is an issue across the tri-county.
Chelsie Howard, Community Relations Director of Palmetto Community Action Partnership says, “One of the interesting things about Charleston is that we have great wealth and we also have great poverty. In any given area within our tri-county, you can find someone who is living in abject poverty—we serve people every day who do not have running water or electricity.”
The organizers of the poverty simulation say that the first step in helping someone who is struggling in poverty is to know of the resources available to them. You can find more information here: http://www.palmettocap.org/