Step Up Savannah & Armstrong State University partner up to host poverty simulation


Right now, 10-million people live in the state of Georgia, and here in Savannah more than 37,000 of them live at or below  the poverty level.

Step-up Savannah organized a poverty simulation at Armstrong State University to help the community understand the situations  low-income families face to survive.

“Am I going to pay for this today or am I going to pay for that today?

That’s a question more than 60% of Savannahians face, as they struggle to survive at or below poverty level, according to Suzanne Donovan, the Executive Director of Step Up Savannah.

That’s why local  the local, non-profit teamed up with Armstrong State University to host a poverty simulation, bringing much needed attention to the serious issue.

“It was actually created by women who were moving from the former welfare system, what we now call TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and it was an exercise they created based on their real-life experiences,” Donovan told News 3.

During the exercise, people took on roles, were given information about their living and family situations and were told to complete true-to-life tasks.

“And it had this of things for me to do…gotta get the kids to daycare, older kids to school, get yourself to work and do all these other things.”

Things Leslie Nissen, a volunteer with Step Up Savannah and a participant in the simulation, says she was asked to do all without any means of transportation…

“By the end of that simulation, my blood pressure was 50,000 over 80,000! I was furious, I was so frustrated, because you’re someone trying to do the right thing,” Nissen said.

She used that same frustration to begin collecting donations to buy bus passes for people who need help getting around the city.

“The experience really is powerful, because what ends up happening is that people are not thinking about these issues, but they’re having to live through them,” Donovan said.

And ultimately use their experience to help those in our community that need it most.

Nissen says even after 11 years, it makes her feel good that she’s been able to help so many throughout the community following her participating in the simulation.

Click here to learn more about Step Up Savannah:



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