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Billings Schools Staff Undergo Poverty Simulation

With more than 2,000 families with children in poverty in Yellowstone County, United Way is bringing awareness to the situation in a whole new way through an interactive simulation. 

This simulation gives faculty a chance to better understand how to help students in poverty and overcome adversities in the classroom

Participants had a chance to experience a month of a life of someone living in poverty.

This includes paying bills on a budget, negotiating work and learning about government assistance all while trying to get ahead in life.

K-12 Billings Public School Executive Director Brenda Koch said the biggest misconception is that families aren't doing anything to get out of poverty which isn't necessarily true.

"There's generational poverty, there's short term poverty, there's just a whole spectrum of degree of poverty," said Koch. "How is it the people get there?
Do they want to be there? No, but often they don't have the skill set to get out. Or as we experienced today with our families they are trying but they're barely making ends meet and it's very very difficult."

With poverty being such a difficult topic, Koch is hopeful they can make a difference in gaining their students trust and build strong relationships to help their students in any way they can.