What are the chances that you could "Make the Month?"
It depends. Do you consider yourself a strong person? You most likely are, however, this simulation won’t be testing your strength, it will test the vulnerability that comes with the lack of strength. A feeling some of us haven’t ever had to endure, but one that is very real for many Canadians.
Imagine your teenager handing you the permission slip for a class field trip to another city. You’re overjoyed at first that your child will have the opportunity to travel. Then it sinks in that you need to pay for accommodation and travel expenses. Now your heart starts to beat even slower because your rent payment came out of your bank account yesterday and you only have $50 to spend.
Time and time again, this situation unfolds in one way. You can`t afford to have your child go on the trip, and not only are you and your teen disheartened, but they miss out on the opportunity to explore, socialize, and participate in a class activity.
These are the kinds of difficult encounters United Way’s Make the Month digital poverty simulation challenges you to overcome.
Here is how the simulation works. You choose a scenario you most identify with; individual, single-parent family and two-parent, or two-child family. You are then given a bi-weekly or weekly allowance based on a low-income person’s working cheque. As you proceed in the simulation, circumstances unfold that could make you choose between taking your mother to the hospital or staying at work so you don’t lose out on a day’s pay.
More than 222,000 people in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga are struggling. These types of decisions are a part of what they face every day.
“We often hear about poverty in our city, but we don’t really understand what it means and how it’s not just a lack of financial resources, but a lack of choices,” says Manjit Minhas, CEO of Minhas Breweries & Distillery and the newest addition to Dragon’s Den. “Make the Month puts these aspects of poverty in very concrete, understandable and emotional terms, giving you a glimpse into the types of choices – and related limitations – that people living in poverty face every day.”
“I couldn’t make it even half way through the month,” says Lori Bodkin, who came across the simulation through a link on Facebook. “I guess I’m a bleeding heart, but I just couldn’t make the decisions to successfully make my paycheque last. I couldn’t say no to my family when it came to health care and basic needs such as shelter, food and clothing. It’s so hard to think that so many people make these choices every day.”
Throughout the simulation, participants have an opportunity to learn more about what United Way is doing to overcome poverty.
Last year with your support, United Way of Peel Region impacted 207,596 lives - over 550 people every day.
“It’s great to go through the simulation and learn about what is actually being done to support those facing poverty,” says Bodkin. “I also appreciated the ability to actually participate in overcoming poverty by making a donation directly through the simulation as I played.”
The power of the simulation lies in how easy it is to participate. Try it out, share your results on social media, challenge your friends to give it a go, learn about poverty, become a part of the solution by helping raise awareness and, if you can, donating towards overcoming poverty.
You can try the Make the Month digital simulation at www.makethemonth.ca and share using the hashtag #makethemonth.
Can you #makethemonth?