TPS students take part in ‘poverty simulation’ program at OU Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa high schoolers experienced a poverty simulation at OU Tulsa Wednesday.

The group of 9th through 12th graders were the third student group to go through the simulation, joining more than 1,000 adults.

The students are in the City Lab program, which is a collaboration between TPS and Tulsa Community College. The summer program focuses on job training, accessibility, and problem solving.

The simulation is based on real families. Students were split into groups where each has a unique family dynamic and tasks to complete each week. They have access childcare, work, a transportation hub, a pawn shop, healthcare and school. Some are presented with challenges like a shutdown daycare or an eviction from their home.

In the exercise, one student shared he was a grandfather with diabetes caring for two grandchildren alongside his working wife. Their mom was in prison and their dad wasn’t in the picture. In the simulation, he struggled to afford both his own medication and that medication needed for his granddaughter.

If you’re interested in the simulation for your group, contact OU Tulsa’s School of Social Work.