A Day in the Life: A Perspective on Poverty

A Day in the Life: Perspective on Poverty


Every day, thousands of families across Cass and Clay Counties perform an intricate financial balancing act while trying to make ends meet. 


You’ve got to do something about that painful tooth. 
Just 7 days left on your bus pass.
Do you, once again, depend on others for a ride to work? 
Say no to your daughter when all she dreams about is joining the team?
Put off a visit to the dentist and push through the pain that keeps you from concentrating at work?
What if you were forced to decide between picking up a needed prescription and putting food on the table for your kids?

Many of us, thankfully, have never had to make these kinds of choices, but thousands of local people make these choices every day.
Underlying many local social issues is a single but massive problem: POVERTY.

One of United Way’s Bold Goals is to lift people out of poverty.  To fight poverty, we must first all seek to understand it.

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Read the InForum's full story about the event here

What is A Day in the Life: Perspective on Poverty

What Is It?

This event is an interactive immersion experience that depicts real-life scenarios faced by many of the families living in poverty in Cass and Clay Counties who are sometimes one paycheck away from homelessness or crisis.

How Does It Work?

Alice is 34. She could be your neighbor, a women you ran into at the grocery store, or someone living in your community you have never met before. Like many others who live in poverty, Alice is fighting against many barriers just to keep a roof over her families head and food on the table. Alice is a member of one of the many families that make up the experience.

During this experience, you will take on the identity of someone like Alice. You and your family will work together to sustain yourself as you live a month in poverty. You will be surrounded by a community of others experiencing their own challenges and given personal and community resources like schools, banks, and grocery stores.

Just like real life, you'll have bills to pay,  you'll need transportation, food on the table, medical care, a source of income and more. Throughout the simulated month you will face the challenges a person in poverty faces. These are real life situation that people face every single day in our community. You'll experience what a day in the life for those in our community facing poverty is like and learn what you can do to help. 

Volunteer to Join Us!

Already participated in "A Day in The Life"? We need your help in making these events impactful! In order to make this event a success, we need great volunteers to play community roles to help depict the real life situations those in poverty face every day. Help us create awareness in our community for those living in poverty by volunteering for one or multiple sessions!

Check out volunteer opportunity dates and times below!

All are welcome to participate in this event! We encourage you to share this with your friends and colleagues who may be interested in this event. Due to the nature of the simulation, we ask that all attendees commit to being there for the entire three hours.

For questions, email out team at unitedway@unitedwaycassclay.org or call us at 701-237-5050.

2018 Sessions:

March 20th, 2018 

Morning Session: 8:30-11:30am 


Afternoon Session: 1:30-4:30pm


May 31st, 2018

Session 1: 8:30-11:30am

Participant & Volunteer Registration will open on March 20th 

Session 2: 1:30-4:30pm

Participant & Volunteer Registration will open on March 20th

September 19th, 2018

Session 1: 8:30-11:30am

Session 2: 1:30-4:30pm

December 11th, 2018

Session 1: 8:30-11:30am

Session 2: 1:30-4:30pm


“Today I participated in “A Day in the Life: A Perspective on Poverty”. I lived a month as a 19 year old high school dropout and single mother of a 1 year old with a live-in boyfriend. I thought making ends meet would be a simple exercise in good planning. One tiny transportation mishap later and the realities of the difficult situation started compounding. All my planning was for naught as I struggle with complexities such as not being able to pay rent until my boyfriend got home with cash or constantly running out of bus passes. Managing time and errands efficiently proved to be impossible. I ended the month in a far worse situation than I began, and we were amongst the luckiest of families in the simulation...” 

- Karri Mitchell, Microsoft & 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Alumni