Community Supported Simulation Aims to Break Barriers in Poverty Perception

Community leaders, alumni of Leadership Palm Beach County (LPBC), and members of the community will come together this Friday, October 19 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., to participate in C.O.P.E.: The Cost of Poverty Experience.  Participants will role-play the lives of low-income families, ranging from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens maintaining their self-sufficiency on Social Security. Each “family” is tasked to provide food, shelter and other necessities while interacting with various community resources (staffed by volunteers) and managing challenges that come their way.

The simulation is designed to help members of the community to better understand the realities of poverty. Leadership Palm Beach County and Community Services Department organized the event to enable participants to see poverty from a variety of angles, and then recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities. Though C.O.P.E. uses play-money, fictional scenarios and time limits, the poverty simulation is not a game. The experience is based on every day struggles for real people in our community, and offers participants an experiential setting where there is a shortage of money and an abundance of stress.

In addition to the simulation, at a County Commission meeting on October 2, Commissioner Mack Bernard sponsored a proclamation officially declaring October Poverty Awareness Month in Palm Beach County. This acknowledgment further strengthens the message of awareness; when paired with the C.O.P.E. experience it initiated the conversation and community engagement to develop goals for economic development within our disadvantaged communities. 


About Leadership Palm Beach County

Leadership Palm Beach County, Inc., is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to foster awareness of community issues and promote efficient communication and cooperative relationships between existing and emerging community leaders. LPBC’s stated mission is to educate and unite leaders to build a better community. Initiated in 1983 through a collaborative effort of the local Chambers of Commerce, LPBC has prepared more than 1,700 graduates for enhanced community leadership roles. Learn more about LPBC here: