Last month, Impact students experienced a new way of looking at poverty. We drove down to LaGrange, Georgia and met with Sherri Brown, the Director of the Troup County branch of Circles, a non-profit that helps people escape poverty.

For two hours, we took on various characters in a stimulation and tried to endure a “year” of poverty, facing various challenges along the way. Some of us tried to figure out how to get a job, how to provide for our families, or how to navigate a city without reliable transportation. Some of the obstacles were designed by people who had formerly been in these situations themselves before successfully completing the 12-week Circles program.

Afterwards, we talked about our experience. To be honest, the stimulation was a bit stressful and shook us up a bit. We had no idea that people were living this way less than an hour from where we were studying in relative comfort. We had heard about poverty on a large scale, but had never thought about what it must be like to live that way on a daily basis. And we had a lot of misconceptions about people in poverty.

Fortunately, Sherri was there to help us unlearn some of these myths. Here are three common myths about people living in poverty and what we learned is true instead:

Poor people are in other countries

Poor people are lazy

Poor people need money the most