Richard A. StevensonMy staff and I always appreciate being able to participate in the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade and to have the opportunity to thank our veterans and their families for their service to our country. For the parade this year, we decided to do something a little different. Since we have several veterans and family members of veterans working in our office, we thought it would be nice to honor our own Wayne Township Trustee Office veterans.

We asked our veterans to participate in the parade so we could recognize them, and several were able to do so. Our veterans walked up front carrying the Wayne Township banner for us. I am very proud our Wayne Township veterans and thank them for their service to our country and for their continuing service as part of our Wayne Township community.

Recently, several members of my staff attended the Poverty Simulation sponsored by CANI. The simulation gives persons in our community a chance to experience for an afternoon what living in poverty is like. At the simulation, attendees are divided into family-sized groups. Each family receives a scenario, and each attendee plays the part of a member of the family. Families get a certain amount of money to purchase necessities, and stations with stores, offices, school and even jail are set up around the room like a real community.

For example, two of my staff members were in a family where grandparents were caring for their two grandchildren. One child was a nine-year-old girl and the other was a seven-year-old boy suffering from ADHD. The grandmother worked, but the grandfather was disabled.

During their “month” in poverty, the family had to make sure grandmother got to work, the children were in school and picked up after school and all the family’s basic needs were addressed. This family had a very difficult time with transportation and experienced the frustration of having to stand in line to get public assistance, which the grandparents needed to make ends meet.

While grandpa, who had mobility problems, was waiting for the assistance, he was not able to get back to school to pick up the children. Grandma couldn’t help because she needed to stay at work since the family badly needed her income. As a result of the children not being picked up from school, police were called, and grandpa had to go to “juvenile hall” to get the children.

This particular family was better off than some of the families because they had income through grandma’s job and grandpa’s disability check. Other families had more challenges, especially one mother, whose husband had just left her and their two children with no money, and the mother didn’t have a job. This group learned the difficulty of going from agency to agency and to get immediate help, while the mother had to look for a job and make sure the children were in school and fed.

After the simulation was completed, the attendees got together to talk about what they had learned. Many of the participants spoke about how exhausting it must be to have to get to appointments at various agencies for help while still doing shopping, caring for the children and getting to work or looking for work. People spoke about wasted time waiting for appointments and especially about the transportation issues. Everyone agreed that when you live in poverty, you have to be really organized to survive.

Growing up in a family of eleven children, I know what it is like to sometimes have to do without. Others in our community may have not experienced what living in poverty is like. This is why I really appreciate the CANI Poverty Simulation and the lessons learned from it.

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee

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Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer