Sorry for not posting. It may have something to do with the fact that I was in LA this weekend and couldn’t post. For those of you who care, here’s how it went.
The big secret of the weekend was that it was going to be a poverty awareness simulation. The kids were told that they were going to be playing the role of a single mother of two, and that they have ‘lost’ all of their things. They were allowed to keep two items. They were given $25 to spend on used clothes, meals, showers, and lodging. No one ended up purchasing lodging or showers, so they all had some meals and warm clothes. One person was made homeless, meaning they had no items and no money. They had to rely on the charity of the others to give them money for food. Throughout the weekend they also got ‘chance’ cards. These cards would tell them about something bad that would happen and they’d lose something. They’d get a chance card for being late, or just for the heck of it. One card said that they got arrested on false charges and released, but lost their belongings, so the kid lost his personal items. Another card for everyone said that the sweat shop got closed down and everyone lost all their money that they had saved to use on other things. Other kids lost items and sleeping bags.
The kids slept outside behind someone’s house, and it got cold and wet at night, so no one slept too well. On Saturday they helped out with some work projects and did a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt had them going to the area of the Staples Center (where the Lakers, Clippers, and LA Kings play) and they had to beg for money to buy lunch, interview a homeless person, an elderly person, find out what WIC, SSI and other things were. They had to find out where a person in need would go for help, ride a bus, and help out someone in need. They had to collect recycleables and find something usefull out of a dumpster. The hunt was very challenging, but the kids realized what the people go through on a daily basis.
Each night we went on tours of Skid Row, which was very eye opening. We did a prayer tour, praying for different things at each spot. The kids were told about the cycle that the homeless find themselves in and how hard it is to work your way out of that situation. They were told about the addictions that are formed and the kids that have to grow up in that environment. We hope to return there in the future to the Union Rescue Mission and help out with the homeless services there.
I could go on and on, but I don’t have the time for that. I will end with this interesting bit of info. While my group was on a scavenger hunt, we saw this really nice Rolls Royce on the side of the street. The kids were talking about how nice it was, and I looked at the driver and I said, ‘He guys, I think that’s Simon Cowell.’ We went back and sure enough, it was. He rolled down his window and gave the kids autographs and chatted with them. He was a really nice guy, not what I was expecting. I told him to tell Paula to calm down and he said, “I know, I know… I do!” So after meeting him, the kids in my group weren’t really thinking about poverty simulation anymore. oh well…