LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) - We can learn a lot from walking a mile in someone else's shoes.
While there may not have been any actual walking Thursday night, a local group of people learned firsthand about living in poverty.
The community poverty simulation in LaGrange marks the second such event put on by the group Circles of Troup County. More than 30 local families have gone through their Bridges out of Poverty program.
At Thursday's event, each person had a role seeing what it's like to live in poverty for a month or help those in that situation. The participants were LaGrange College masters students, many of them already teachers.
Inetha Hadden was a simulation volunteer. Just two years ago, she was on the other side, going through the Circles program when she fell on very hard times.
"I had barriers that kept me out of a great job market," Hadden said. "I was determined to win. Me and poverty had become friends. There was a lot of things I didn't have anymore."
"They go back and realize maybe they set up some barriers in their ministries at their church or business or the way they work or communicate, or their own ideas, judgments of other people," explained director Sherri Brown. "It really helps break down walls."
Participants at this free poverty simulation say this was eye-opening, giving them a fresh perspective on the decisions people are sometimes forced to make when they lack food, money, resources.
Leaders also discussed how area businesses, schools, churches, and community groups can help improve results for people lost in the war on poverty.
Lagrange has a poverty rate of 18 percent, and that's why organizations like Circles need more volunteers to help people who are not self-sufficient.
There's another free poverty simulation program going on Tuesday, January 27, starting at 9 a.m. at Mike Daniels Rec Center in LaGrange.