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UW-Eau Claire Organizations to Sponsor Eau Claire County Poverty Simulation

RELEASED: April 13, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — In an effort to raise awareness and encourage civic engagement, several organizations at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will sponsor the "Eau Claire County Poverty Simulation" from 6-9 p.m. April 30. The event will be hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in downtown Eau Claire.

During the simulation, participants will take on the roles of a variety of people — a single parent, an ex-offender released from prison, a breadwinner with a sudden terminal illness, or a college student — all living in poverty.

The simulation will include four 15-minute periods, each representing a week in the life of the people involved. Each week, participants must fulfill their responsibilities, such as buying food; finding a job; securing housing, child care or transportation; and paying rent and utilities. A reflection period will be held at the end of the simulation.

According to the American Communities Survey, as of 2007, 13.2 percent of Wisconsin residents lived below the federal poverty threshold. Eau Claire County's rate of poverty was slightly lower than the state average with 11.7 percent of the population living in poverty.

"A large portion of that population is under served and lacks access to resources that most take for granted," said Alison Smetana, an AmeriCorps*VISTA member in UW-Eau Claire's Center for Service-Learning. "This event is intended to give participants an idea of what it would be like to be a part of the poverty statistic in the Eau Claire community."

Sponsors of the event are the Center for Service-Learning, the Student Homelessness Awareness Chapter at UW-Eau Claire and AmeriCorps*VISTA.

The Poverty Simulation is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. To register, call 715-836-4649 or send an e-mail to ECPovertySimulation@gmail.com.

For more information, contact Alison Smetana, AmeriCorps*VISTA member, Center for Service-Learning, at 715-836-3988 or smetanam@uwec.edu.

-30-

NW/JB

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