We were graciously invited to a Poverty Awareness Event at Alma Heights School by Rachel Zabaneh, one of the teachers there. Our group consisted of Stefan, our founder, Sharon, our CDO, Kylie and Heaven, our youth volunteers, and myself, our EA (Cecilia). Kylie and Heaven wrote up a summary of what happened at the event and how they felt about it. Here are their thoughts…
“Today we visited a school in Pacifica called Alma Heights. Alma Heights is a Christian learning community with students, parents, teachers, and leaders growing in faith, knowledge, and virtue. What I learned today was about poverty awareness. Poverty awareness teaches about people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter that are not being met. My thoughts on this event were that people don’t really get great things in this world. Poverty is one of the main issues that the entire world has to deal with. It does not only affect the people that are going through it, but it affects everyone in their country.
People in poverty do not have the ability to meet their basic needs. Since they have a limited income, they become hungry from a lack of food. Their hunger causes them to resort to stealing. Since they do not have enough money to buy products to keep themselves clean and sanitary, they are more likely to have health problems and diseases. Death is a normal outcome of these diseases since the poor don’t have enough money to buy medicine with which to treat them. Child labor comes into effect from poverty in order for the family to get as much money as they can.
Poverty can also affect their education, causing academic and behavioral problems. People in poverty will usually be more focused on learning how to survive before trying to get an education, even if they decide to try to get an education. Paying the fees for education would be a huge problem along with taking care of themselves as far as food and health.”
“Today we visited Alma Heights High School to observe a poverty awareness event. At this event the students from grades 9-12 participated in a workshop where they lived in poverty. The workshop was in the gym, and they had a village, a clinic, a school, food, water, employment, jail, and the border. Everyone started off with a certain amount of money, food stamps, a level of education and a shelter. Everyone started, sitting down in their assigned shelter and there was a border, so some lived closer to more resources and others lived farther away where it was harder to get those resources. The kids played three rounds of the game. Unfortunately, most people died in the first round from either not enough food or not enough water, in which case they had to go to the cemetery. In each round the kids had to get food but food cost money so they had to get money to buy the food, which meant that they had to get a job and had to be well educated.
There were a lot of things that they had to get accomplished in that time period and there were a lot of kids, which meant that they had they had to wait in long lines and they had a limited amount of time. The other challenges in this game were that there were a lot of natural disasters, which made the price of food and supplies that they needed go up and there were many new laws passed that did not apply before. If you got caught breaking one of the laws, then you went to jail. For the people that lived across the border the new laws took longer for them to hear. For people that lived across the border it was much harder for them to live in poverty because they didn’t have as many resources. It was harder for them to hear laws, and every time they wanted to cross the border they got shut down. They also lived closer to the jail, so they would get caught breaking laws faster.
After the game was over, the students talked to the speaker about how realistic or unrealistic the game was and how they survived in the game. A lot of kids said that the game was pretty realistic apart from the fact that they would never actually get to feel what it’s like to really be in that situation. A lot of the kids also said that the way they had to survive was by stealing. After talking about their strategies and feelings for a little bit, a guest speaker came out and told the kids his story and how he was in that situation.”