Community Action Partnership of Northeast Missouri

Total Votes: 6  
Interest: 486

P.O. Box 966
Kirksville, Missouri 63501

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Poverty Simulation

One of the most powerful tools CAPNEMO has for engaging the community in the fight against poverty are community Poverty Simulations. Through carefully designed curriculum, participants are placed into a “family” in poverty and asked to navigate the month in four 15-minute “weeks” using only the resources pre-assigned to their family and those they can utilize from community providers in the simulation.

This is a highly-energized, impactful experience, and the positive feedback toward understanding poverty is tremendous. Most participants are stunned at what it takes to make it when you live in poverty, and tell us that the chaos, isolation and hopelessness invades every decision.  The curriculum is carefully planned by Community Action leaders from across the state, and changes to reflect the current face of poverty.

Most people are surprised by what they learn at a Poverty Simulation:   

“I felt vulnerable, frustrated. I’m usually an organized person, but by the end of the first week, I was completely disorganized and nervous.”

“I had no energy left for the kids in my simulated family because I spent all day trying to get the resources we needed. I came home angry and frustrated. And they didn’t get what they needed.”


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In 1964, The Great Society, as envisioned by President Lyndon Johnson, was a sweeping plan to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their circumstances. Inspired by President Kennedy and his New Frontier, Johnson pledged to fulfill his promise of equal opportunity for all by enacting several comprehensive changes within the federal government. In August of that same year, the Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law by President Johnson creating the nationwide Community Action Network.
Community Action was a bold idea, especially for the federal government. It handed over control to the local level, so that programs were geared specifically for target population needs. This concept, maximum feasible participation, represented a new paradigm in the government and many sectors were wary of its innovative ideas. President Johnson selected a member of President Kennedys inner circle to head up the newly formed Office of Economic Opportunity Sargent Shriver.

Shriver was head of Peace Corps in the Kennedy administration and married to Kennedys sister, Eunice. He had proved himself to be a capable leader and President Johnson admired his abilities. President Johnson, legendary for his acumen in recruiting key personnel, offered the position to Shriver and would not take no for an answer. Shriver was installed as the first head of the OEO in October 11, 1964 and leapt into action.