22 May, 2008

L.A.'s Salvation Army offers poverty simulation

The organization provides an exercise in which volunteers are immersed in the difficulties faced by the working poor as they navigate the transit systems, social services, pawn shops and check-cashing
By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 22, 2008

Brian Deemer, 13, is accustomed to the good life in Manhattan Beach. This week he saw how the other half lives.

In a poverty simulation at a Salvation Army facility in downtown Los Angeles, he pretended to be a 42-year-old out-of-work college grad attempting to provide for his three children. He saw how hard it can be to put food on the table and a roof overhead when expenses vastly outweigh income -- or when there's no income at all.

"It made me look at Los Angeles with a new perspective," said Deemer, a seventh-grader at Rolling Hills Country Day School, a private school on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

He and 60 other volunteer participants from businesses and nonprofit organizations gained a new appreciation for how difficult it can be for the thousands of working poor in Los Angeles to navigate the often unfriendly transportation system, social services, pawn shops and check-cashing stores that sustain them. read more...

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