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Living on the Edge

Poverty Simulation

A unique, interactive group experience that provides a glimpse of what it might be like for Winnipeg families struggling with poverty.

About 10% of Winnipeggers live in poverty, including one in four children. This United Way Winnipeg poverty simulation will help your workplace or school group learn about one of our city’s most complex issues.

Participants take on a role within a family living on a low income. The three-hour simulation covers four “weeks,” during which families perform daily tasks like sending kids to school, accessing childcare and transportation, finding work, paying bills, visiting social services, buying groceries, cashing cheques, and more.

People have called the simulation “eye-opening” and say it’s helped to become more conscious of barriers and challenges they can help others overcome.

Share this empathy-building activity with your circle and help make our community a more understanding place for everyone.

Why take part in this group experience?

It's meaningful.

Poverty affects us all. Gaining a new perspective on a reality faced by so many of our fellow Winnipeggers is a worthwhile journey.

It's hands-on.

You and your group will assume roles, including low-income families and service providers, and make real decisions faced by our neighbours every day.

It's informative.

Following the simulation, participants share what they learned and felt during a debriefing session facilitated by United Way Winnipeg.

Our United Way Winnipeg engagement staff can help.

Consider the following before you contact us:

Date and Time
The simulation takes about three hours. Choose a date and time that works for your group, and we will do our very best to accommodate it.
We can accommodate 40 to 80 participants. The simulation does not work with fewer than 40. You will also need to provide an additional 10 participants to act as community resource staff.
You will need to provide a venue for the simulation. It should be a room of at least 3,000 square feet. United Way Winnipeg can make venue suggestions if needed. We require 90 minutes to set up the simulation and orient the volunteers before it begins.
$750 covers the cost of the simulation. If this is a barrier, please let us know.
Experience it
Join groups from business, government, and education who’ve already experienced the powerful impact of a Living on the Edge poverty simulation. It’s an ideal exercise for groups looking for a hands-on, unique opportunity to enhance tolerance, compassion and empathy with your teams. Arrange a poverty simulation for your group or organization now.


Looking for ways to make a difference but don’t have a lot of time?
Play an important role bringing Living on the Edge to life by acting as one of our simulated community service representatives. It takes about four hours and it’s the perfect opportunity to enhance your interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills while helping people in our community understand the realities of poverty. No experience, previous knowledge or prep required.

Or give us a call at 204-477-5360.