The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 20, 2013

Poverty simulation slated for today

Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

— Annamarie Pihs experienced firsthand the kind of harsh economic times she will be helping educate Johnstown community leaders about during today’s Walk a Day in My Shoes: Understanding Poverty event at Greater Johnstown High School.

Pihs, now 21, was one of seven children in her family that lived in the Solomon Homes housing project. Tough financial decisions regarding food, bills and medical care were part of a daily existence. Having gone through those hard times, she now wants to provide politicians, educators and community activists a glimpse into what that world was like.

“The reason I want to help is that I can completely relate,” said Pihs.

She will assist with a simulation that is designed to educate participants, who are scheduled to include former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, Cambria County Commissioner Thomas Cher­nisky and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Executive Director Mike Kane, about the challenges of living on $10 per day.

“They’ll get to see how some good, honest people have to live their lives,” Pihs said.

Pihs, a representative of the Community Connection Team, is expected to be among the dozens of volunteers helping with the event, sponsored by the Cambria County Health and Welfare Council and Community Action Partnership of Cambria County. The organizations hope the simulation can help provide participants a better understanding of the economic realities faced by many people in the city, where one-third of the population lives below the poverty line.

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