Kettering leaders take part in poverty awareness training

Approximately 40 Kettering leaders — including the mayor, city council members, city administrators, board of education and school administrators — participated in a poverty awareness program.

The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) was presented by ThinkTank Inc. at the Hempstead Station Fire Station last week. The poverty simulation program helps participants deepen their understanding of the causes and effects of poverty and other social issues.

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Community Information Manager Stacy Schweikhart said the poverty simulation was an experience designed to help participants understand what it is like to live in a typical low-income family trying to make ends meet from month to month.

“This event is part of a national effort to call attention to poverty,” she said. “The purpose of COPE is to offer participants a glimpse into the life of low-income persons living in the community.”

According to ThinkTank , poverty is an epidemic in the United States affecting an estimated 41 million Americans – with 22 percent of them being under the age of 18.

COPE represents the lives of 15 families who have agreed to share their stories so that people across the country can be exposed to real people, real situations and real barriers that exist, according to ThinkTank.

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Chris Klefeker, coordinator of service-learning and volunteerism at Miami University Hamilton, has helped put together a poverty simulation program for students at the university.

“Poverty is something that affects our entire community and touches everyone … even if they do not realize it,” she said. “It impacts our schools, medical facilities, law enforcement, businesses, and families. A greater understanding of the causes of poverty and its’ effects on individuals and families would go a long way in helping us address this issue as a community and nation.”

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