The complex issues of poverty and hunger will be addressed with an educational simulation on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in South Pittsburg.

Co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee’s Extension Service and Sequatchie Valley Head Start, the simulation is part of the training regimen for Head Start teachers and family workers who deal with both these issue on a daily basis.

“Food insecurity and hunger are widespread problems – not only in the United States, but also right here at home,” said Head Start Director Judy Graham. “It’s only gotten worse in recent years.”

Graham directs the pre-school education program that serves more than 400 children and their families spread out across Marion, Sequatchie, Grundy, Bledsoe, and Rhea counties.

The simulation, developed by Oregon State University lasts about two hours and is part of the core training for staff members who work directly with Head Start children and families.

“This is issue is so important,” Graham said, “that we decided to open it up to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Reservations should be made at the UT-TSU Extension Service before Thursday, Feb. 15 at 423-942-2656. The simulation will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Hemlock Head Start Community Room at 907 Hemlock Circle in South Pittsburg.

The role-play simulation raises the awareness and understanding of teachers and staff in terms of public policy issues. Scenarios in the simulation demonstrate the difficulty of recovering from financial blows; painful choices resulting from limited resources; and the means by which community organizations can help people who are working toward financial self-sufficiency.

Participants will better understand:

  • the high rates of hunger and food insecurity in many communities;
  • the difficulties for financially stressed people to improve their situation;
  • hunger as a public policy issue;
  • the painful choices people make when stretching limited resources; and
  • how community organizations can help people work toward financial self-sufficiency.

The presentation is being made by extension specialists as well as the Sequatchie County Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program (TNCEP) Coalition members. The course is free, but does require a two-hour commitment from participants.

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