Leadership Coshocton County learns about poverty in Coshocton

| December 12, 2017

Leadership Coshocton County and Coshocton County Youth Leadership learned about poverty in the community during a poverty simulation on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Danny Brenneman of Coshocton County Job and Family Services gave a presentation. One exercise he had both adults and youth do was two volunteers tied together with two ropes and then having to separate from each other without taking the rope off of their wrists to simulate the difficulties of getting out of poverty.

COSHOCTON – Coshocton County Youth Leadership and Leadership Coshocton County met at the Frontier Power Community Room on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to learn about the impact of poverty in Coshocton County. A poverty simulation led by Kathy Rednour, Leadership Ohio, made both adults and students realize just how hard it is for people to rise above poverty.

“The simulation definitely changed my perspective on why some people don’t just get a job,” said junior Jarrett Brenneman. “It changed my whole perspective on how people live in poverty.”

Danny Brenneman from Coshocton County Job and Family Services gave a hands-on presentation about the statistics and figures about poverty in Coshocton County and helped to dispel some of the myths about people who live in poverty and who are on government assistance.

“Before you judge the lifestyle or choices that somebody in poverty makes, make sure you take a step back and look at their situation,” he said.

One of the many myths that Danny helped to dispel was the fact that 58 percent of people receiving food assistance are employed.

“I would hope that they learned there are a lot of myths surrounding people in poverty and participants in social welfare,” he said. “There’s a lot more behind the scenes than only money and dollars. There are a lot of misnomers about the people in poverty and the regulations they have to do to continue the service of the programs.”

One exercise Danny had both adults and youth do during his presentation was having two volunteers tied together with two ropes and then having to separate from each other without taking the rope off of their wrists. Each time, when one pair thought they were free, they found that they had only created a bigger knot. Danny explained that this is how it is when people try to rise above poverty. They may do well for a while, but then something happens in their lives to get them back where they started.

“I think for me, seeing the lack of constant in people’s lives was eye-opening,” said Justin Conner, a junior in Youth Leadership. “Their lives can change day-to-day and people just get in so deep and they don’t know what to do.”

Danny also wanted to stress that although substance abuse is one reason why people do not have jobs, some other reasons include lack of transportation, failing health, raising children and having no money for childcare, suffering from a mental illness, as well as others.

“This is an opportunity for them to gain a perspective on what it means to live in poverty,” said Betsy Gosnell, director of Leadership Coshocton County. “While they only experience it for one week (during the simulation), other people experience it for 52 weeks out of the year, and it’s very eye-opening. People who don’t live in poverty take for granted having a way to get to work, having a job to go to, being able to pay their bills, and it makes both the adults and the youth think about how others live. My hope is they take away from this that when they hear about people living in poverty, they look at it through a different lens.”

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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