Reality Check Simulation Experiences
United Way of the Piedmont offers a variety of interactive simulations to provide insight into the lives of struggling families in our community. These simulations are offered free of charge to local organizations and businesses.
Reality Check: Smartie Money
This mini-simulation offers insight into the difference between poverty, self-sufficiency, and financial stability. Participants are divided into small groups (usually 2-4) and are assigned different incomes. The group must use a budget sheet to make tough financial decisions and sacrifices to get their budget to balance. See how quickly money can disappear.
Time commitment: approx. 20 minutes
Reality Check: Cents and Sense
This is an expanded version of Smartie Money and demonstrates the fine line between poverty and self-sufficiency. Participants are divided into small groups (usually 4-6) and are given a family scenario with income and expense information. The same 4 scenarios happen to each family group over the course of a “month,” and each group must balance their income and expenses along the way. What will it take to be self-sufficient in the end?
Time commitment: 45-60 minutes
Reality Check: A month on the edge
This is the eye-opening full simulation in which individuals form family groups and are given scenarios to act out that include completing tasks such as going to work, paying bills, and securing childcare. Community resources and businesses are part of the simulation, resembling a real community. Can you maintain housing, feed your family every week AND stay up to date on all your bills? Immerse yourself in the life and struggle that more than 18% of Spartanburg County residents know as reality.
Time commitment: 2 hours
Reality Check: Getting out
A full simulation as well, this opportunity provides insight into the life of a recently released ex-offender. You will experience a “month” with an ex-offender’s background and complete everyday tasks while working around common obstacles ex-offenders frequently face. Can you make it through a month without returning to jail?
Time commitment: approx. 2 hours
Check out our Reality Check Flyer here.