Probably just as a lot of you are reading this, Estherville Lincoln Central staff are going through a simulation centered around the topic of poverty in the ELC Middle School gym.
A partnership with Iowa State University Extension, the exercise also includes personal stories.
So why talk about poverty, some may ask.
The fact of the matter is that those who would ask that question don't realize the number of ELC students who live in poverty. A good case in point would be that the Estherville Area Ministerial Association helps 1,000 individuals during the Community Christmas Project every December. And that's in a town of a little over 6,000.
No, we are not immune from poverty here in Emmet County - at all. Unfortunately, unemployment statistics don't begin to tell the real story of the working poor - families in which both parents work, often at minimum wage or a little above, struggling to just put food on the table. The burden they carry is enormous, especially if a number of school-age children are in the home.
This is why the simulation today is so important. It helps drive home to teachers and staff the harsh reality of what many of their students are facing. It will make them more attuned to their charges and make them sensitive to some of the dynamics their students face in the home that might not be quite so visible in school.
This is an important project that ELC is undertaking, and an admirable one. We applaud them for their efforts - as well as ISU Extension in helping make this possible.