Friday, October 31, 2014

Curriculum & Resources: SPENT, An Online Game to Understand Poverty — YES! Magazine

Many of use make tough decisions on a daily basis and the SPENT Challenge is a great tool for kids as well as adults to understand the nature of  living on the brink. Of course, we can't get a true perspective of what it feels like to be working parents,who still have a job or income,but are living in a car,because they lost their home, while trying to keep your family together,or shared/communal living of multiple families living in a small 2 bedroom/1 bath home.Spent deals with the tough decisions that we make everyday, but more importantly it is an eye-opener of how close many of use can lose it all at any moment.

I realized by playing this game that I'm more of an activist minded person, I got two strikes with my job(one strike was because I wanted to form a union and the other issue was family related),so I'm guessing if you get three strikes then you lose your job,but I managed to hold onto my job,albeit with a pay cut, but I still had a job.

In the game I started out the month with $1,000, I believe everyone starts with this amount,but everyone has the option to pick where to work (not many choices),where to live, which insurance plan for your family, or the decision to opt out and take a penalty. The goal is to try to make it to the end of the month while making decisions about buying groceries, and many other curve ball situations that life can throw at you.

I took the challenge and made it through with only $14;my 18 year old daughter,Kennedy took the test and made it through the month with a little over $400 at the end of the month. After she took her test, I revealed to her that I had made it through the month too, but I only had $14 at the end of the month. We talked about how I got two strikes with my job and how she only got one strike with her job, and how these scenarios play out in real life.Now everyone doesn't get the same challenges, and she didn't really have too many issues with her job, and we talked about some illegal tactics that companies try to employ with their workers,and how people living  in poverty or on the brink of poverty feel they can't afford to strike or speak out on low pay or dangerous work conditions because they're just trying to live and get by.

 As you recall earlier, I said, I really was more activist minded while playing the game. I knew that I could get penalized for trying to form a union, but it didn't matter to me, all I could see was the big picture and how forming a union could make a difference in lives of workers and their families in the long run. This doesn't me, that I'm better than the man or woman who decided not to form a union because they chose a roof over their head and food on their table; this means that it takes all kinds to make the world go around, and that I am my brother's keeper.

Let's all try to keep each other and give whenever we can,less judgement and more of a helping hand please.

Take the Spent Challenge,did you(or your kid/s) make it through the month, and if so,how much was left?


 Curriculum & Resources: SPENT, An Online Game to Understand Poverty — YES! Magazine

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