Each of us have at least one of “these” students in our youth program. The one who shows up a little hungry, a little tattered and a lot proud. We pull them aside to “talk,” and assess the need. How can we help? The more we probe, the tighter lipped they seem to become. Do we have any clue what is going on at home? How do we help other leaders, volunteers, even students to understand that “poverty,” is alive and well here in America? Do any of us really know how to talk about it?
Check out “Spent.” This online “game” takes about 10 minutes to “play.” Put together by the Urban Ministries of Durham, this ministry serves 6.000 “neighbors in need,” every year. It was created to help others understand what happens right here in the US. It targets the attitude of the average middle class, college educated person who tends to say, “I would never do that.” The vantage point is that you have and education, have lost your job and need to take something just to pay the bills. This way the attitude from the start can’t be, “Well if you were educated and not in the “hood” then you might have different choices.”
It is a great tool for leaders, volunteers or even other students to gain perspective on what “poor,” really looks like. I have heard so many times over the years, “I’m not dirty,” when the word, “poverty,” is used. The feeling can be is that the nasty little word is derogatory, as opposed to simply families who might need a neighbor to step in and give a hand. The awesome perspective of the game is that there may come a point for each of us when we need help. There is not the opportunity to look at “them,” and feel sorry or judge anyone.
Instead there may come a point for each of us when we too are “spent.”
Check out the website & play the game – http://playspent.org/
Written by Leneita Fix