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Poverty and change

I'm a pretty lucky guy. For the last several years, I've been facilitating poverty simulations at work. The simulations are an opportunity for individuals to take on roles in families who are living on a very limited income. They live for one month; four fifteen minute weeks. Their job is to pay their bills, make sure the household stays safe, and unexpected challenges are met. After the hour of the experience their is a debrief, it is during that time people have the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts. Yesterday, I facilitated the simulation for Leadership Triangle. The conversation was rich, including the courageous individuals sharing their stories of how they had experienced some of these same challenges in their own lives. We moved to talking about solutions and came to the conclusion that there are many different solutions to moving out of poverty. 

That was reiterated today when I got to see Dan Heath at the Triangle Community Foundation's What Matters luncheon. He talked about some of the aspects of his book. The rider, the elephant, and the path are all key elements in change. One of the points he made in his talk was that we need to find the bright spots, the successes, and figure out how to replicate those successes. I thought about this alot this afternoon and kept wondering if the stories of moving out of poverty were enough. We live in a culture that demands success. However, that success seems to be measured by more than simple class mobilization and/or happiness. Because of that, we miss the stories of success. That's a shame. 

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