Clark State Community College will hold a special Convocation event: “In Their Shoes” on Monday, August 14. Convocation – an annual gathering of Clark State faculty, staff and Board of Trustees – will feature a COPE simulation. COPE, The Cost of Poverty Experience: College Edition, is a product of Think Tank in Springfield, Ohio.
“It is paramount that all of us who serve students understand the barriers our students face on a daily basis,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “Small interventions and an understanding of these barriers will facilitate student success.”
The Cost of Poverty Experience training offers participants a glimpse into the lives of low-income individuals and families living in the community. It addresses the obstacles faced, the decisions made and the consequences that impact these families every day.
“Approximately 50 percent of Clark State students receive Pell grants, which means they have demonstrated a substantial financial need, and it is estimated that one in four first-generation college students are living in poverty,” said Crystal Jones, faculty co-chair of the Diversity Committee and program coordinator for the Management program at Clark State. “COPE: College Edition allows participants to have a greater understanding of the juggling act many non-traditional, under-resourced students face on their way to transcend poverty.”
Jones also said COPE training equips educators with insights regarding how they can design programs to better assist these students and increase retention and completion rates.
The CareSource Foundation partnered with Think Tank to develop COPE, which was co-designed with low-income individuals who have shared their story so that participants could gain greater understanding. Many organizations and communities across the nation use COPE to work more effectively with low-income families to understand and address the issues of poverty more comprehensively.
“It is our hope that COPE: College Edition will start the conversation needed for our faculty and staff to better understand the complexities that our students in poverty face and begin the transformation of our policies, perspectives and priorities to truly improve our college and region,” said Jones.
Clark State will be closed for Convocation from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Monday, August 14.