Poverty Learning Lab

Understanding the complex issues and framework of poverty is an empowering tool to begin changing a community. Circles of Troup County offers several interactive workshops to help your group understand poverty and begin to make decisions to improve relationships across socioeconomic groups.

For information or to schedule a Poverty Learning Lab event, contact Circles of Troup County at sbrown@troupco.org or at 706.883.1687.


Poverty Simulation – 3 hours

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. But unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand. The Poverty Simulation bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. The interactive immersion experience sensitizes participants to the realities of poverty. It is not a game, but based on real people and their lives.

Circles of Troup has presented this unique tool to more than 1,000 people. Here’s how it works: Ann Aber is like many people in poverty, facing the daily struggle to keep a roof over her head and her children fed. Ann is just one person in the up to 26 families that are part of the poverty simulation.

During the simulation, you will take on the identity of someone like Ann. You will work together with your family to navigate a month in poverty.

Your “community” is a large room. You and your neighbors’ “homes” are chairs in the center.

The services you need like jobs, banks, schools and grocery stores are tables that line the perimeter of the room.

The simulation requires 3 hours, for 30-60 participants.


Poverty Workshops – 1 to 3 hours

Socioeconomic class is much more than the amount of money you have. It’s also the clothes you wear, the music you like, the school you go to—and has a strong influence on the ways you interact with others. People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world—a fact that should figure into education, business, faith communities, non-profits and the community.

Circles of Troup County provides experiential workshops with interactive activities – from 1 to 3 hours – to help your group understand and respond effectively to people in different socioeconomic classes.


Lunch-and-Learn – 30 -45 minutes

Circles of Troup County can design an introduction to poverty framework for your church, business, non-profit or community group.


Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities – 6 to 12 hours

Based in part on Dr. Ruby K. Payne’s “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” the Bridges workshop is for service providers and businesses whose daily work connects them with people in poverty. It includes detailed analysis, experiential exercises and specific solutions you and your organization can implement right now to:

  • Redesign programs to better serve the people you work with.
  • Build skill sets for management to help guide employees.
  • Upgrade training for front-line staff like receptionists, caseworkers and managers.
  • Increase the likelihood of moving from welfare to work.

Circles of Troup has a certified trainer for Bridges Out of Poverty. The workshop is a minimum of 6 hours, or up to 12 hours. We can provide training in one day or six-week 1-hour sessions for your church, business or civic group.