The end of the year is magical for a number of reasons, all of which depend on who you talk to. For sales professionals, both end of quarter and end of year sales goals are (hopefully) met. For managers, the end of year signals performance reviews. But for many, the end of the year isn’t a prosperous time.

The holidays have long been synonymous with charitable giving, but what if instead of giving, you switched places with someone in need? That’s the impetus behind the United Way of Central Indiana’s poverty simulations.

TechPoint has partnered with the United Way of Central Indiana to co-host three poverty simulations conducted at three different technology companies (Kronos, Kinney Group sponsored by FirstPerson, and NextGear Capital) in central Indiana — and you are encouraged to attend. RSVP on Eventbrite here.


At TechPoint, we work to create a community that is both informed and connected as it is inclusive and giving. By participating in this simulation, you will increase your understanding of the dynamics of poverty and experience, on a small scale, the struggle for self-sufficiency that many people in Central Indiana face.

To learn more about these upcoming events, we spoke with Margie Worrell, Immersive Learning Initiatives Manager at United Way of Central Indiana, to share more about what the poverty simulations are and why you should attend.

Why did United Way of Central Indiana decide to produce these events?

It’s easy to say what United Way does and who we fight for, but to truly understand the importance of our work, sometimes an experience is key. Poverty Simulations are powerful, experiential opportunities for people to learn about poverty reduction. People who attend poverty simulations can increase their understanding of the dynamics of poverty and experience the struggles many people in our community face. At United Way of Central Indiana, we fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in our community. Poverty Simulations show people why and how we address this issue head-on while giving them a better understanding of exactly how they too can make an impact.

Who is the target audience for an event like this?

We think anyone can benefit from knowing more about poverty in our community – especially those who are interested in being part of the solution. If you’re curious about what it might feel like to live paycheck to paycheck or perhaps you’re skeptical about how someone might find themselves in this situation, then a poverty simulation could be a meaningful experience for you. Every person in Central Indiana plays a role in addressing our community’s most critical problems – like poverty.

What do you hope attendees will learn as a result of attending this event?

We often refer a Poverty Simulation as an “immersive learning experience.” That’s because the simulation is intentionally interactive and allows participants to feel the struggles of living in poverty. During the simulation participants assume the role of a low-income family member living on a limited budget, navigating through unforeseen circumstances. Then, participants learn about the services and opportunities that people living in poverty can utilize to become more self-sufficient. It is a very hands-on experience with educational elements presented by a facilitator. We hope that participants will become more aware of the complexity of poverty and have a clearer answer to how they can get involved.

“Engaging in the poverty simulation conducted by United Way truly opened my eyes to the impact poverty has on families. As an educator, our plates are extremely full as we feel the need to push students academically to the next level. However, I learned that if we don’t stop and listen to the story that each of our families brings with them, our children will struggle to grow emotionally and academically. After walking in the shoes I was given, it became clear that as educators we must provide our children with an abundance of love and sense of security, so they can prosper and grow like their peers,” said Jen Browne, literary specialist at Nora Elementary School.

Amanda Cross, another event attendee, said “I am so glad that the poverty simulation exists, and I hope that many, many people go through it. There’s just no substitute for walking in another person’s shoes, even if just for an hour.”

How will UWCI measure the impact of this event series?

This simulation will open the door for United Way to begin to communicate with these participants. In time, we will be able to measure the success of this exercise based on how participants choose to get involved with United Way in the future through advocating, volunteering or donating.

Why bridge a connection to the Indy tech community?

Indianapolis is without a doubt an emerging tech hub in America – and it is growing at a rapid pace! There’s also something special about the traits of tech employees – they tend to be data-driven, customer-focused, resourceful and excited about finding the solution to any number of problems. The Indy tech scene is abundant with people who care deeply about the mission, their colleagues and creating a meaningful experience as it relates to their product. As an organization, we are committed to addressing our community’s most critical problems, and we know we certainly can’t do it alone. It takes everyone – especially those who are passionate about making Central Indiana the best place to work and live. So why wouldn’t United Way want to grow our relationship with this impressive community comprised of some of Indy’s top talent and community leaders?

How can someone continue to get involved with similar efforts?

United Way of Central Indiana is celebrating 100 years of hand raisers and game changers. So while there’s always an opportunity to give, advocate or volunteer, we now have more opportunities than ever to join the fight for our neighbors in need – 100 ways! Visit to learn more.

Interested in attending one of the three public poverty simulation events? RSVP on Eventbrite here.