The Academy of Holy Angels is a Catholic High School located in Richfield, MN. The school prides itself on having a commitment to service with many school organizations devoted to performing service learning activities. Several years ago, the school created its Faith In Action program which aims at bringing service into all aspects of the school’s programs. Because of this program, many sports teams within the school volunteer with organizations all over the Twin Cities. Twin Cities Habitat also has Faith In Action as one of our founding values. We were excited to partner with the Academy of Holy Angels basketball team to complete one of our Hands-on Workshops and our Poverty Simulation.
Hands-on Workshops are a youth program at Twin Cities Habitat that allows local youth groups to build Adirondack Chairs or storage boxes to be given to Habitat homebuyers when they move into their new homes, or sold at our ReStore where 100% of the profit goes back towards supporting Habitat’s mission. Youth under 16 are not able to volunteer on our active construction sites due to safety regulations; the Hands-on Workshops give youth an opportunity to build something with Habitat that supports our mission, while staying safe.
The students from Holy Angels also took part in our Poverty Simulation. This interactive activity allows youth to make financial decisions on a poverty level budget. The youth have to visit five different stations including transportation, food, healthcare, bills, and housing to purchase supplies for their families. The youth must make their choices based on their family of four and work with a partner to discuss whether they wanted to splurge on certain items and save on others based on their budget. If a group decides to purchase the new Mercedes instead of taking public transportation, they may not be able to purchase adequate healthcare for their family. This activity is a simplified version of what a family in poverty goes through and is not supposed to be a direct representation of this, but more of an educational and immersive experience.
The activity was "eye opening" for the students, as they realized the constraints that many people in poverty encounter. Students were also surprised about the cost for basic necessities, like food or housing. One of the students shared that the experience made him appreciate his parents more.
If you are interested in having your youth group participate in either of these activities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.