Brittany Stahl, Taylor Spangler, Dr. Michael Gutter, Molly McGuire Caldaro, Celia Hill and Megan Holly

FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 24, 2015) – The Junior League of Fort Myers, Inc. recently hosted an immersive poverty simulation experience for 40 attendees at the Canterbury School.

The event was moderated by Dr. Michael Gutter and a team from the University of Florida’s Extension Office and included a brief presentation on the impact of poverty across the state of Florida. Participants were divided into families working together to meet their unique needs and challenges during four 15-minute “weeks.” The families strove to meet their needs with limited resources by visiting stations throughout the room representing the utility company, work, school, the landlord, social services and establishments such as a pawn shop and payday lender. At the end, the families came together to discuss their insights while those who worked the stations discussed theirs. The group then related the challenges they faced to the challenges faced by those without a community.

“When this simulation was presented during our fall conference in Orlando, it made a tremendous impact on all of the attendees, and we couldn’t wait to bring the simulation to Fort Myers,” said Sasha Storsberg-Warren, president of the Junior League of Fort Myers. “This simulation was not a game but rather an exercise to reveal the difficulties that poverty-stricken families must face on a daily basis. Events like this are just one of the many ways the Junior League’s Public Affairs Committee brings educational platforms to our members and our community to raise awareness and impact positive change.”

According to Storsberg-Warren, as a result of the simulation event, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program for Lee County is partnering with the social workers embedded in the Title IX schools in the school district to have another simulation for all staff later this year.

A member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., the Junior League of Fort Myers, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The JLFM is also a granting organization, providing mini-grants to organizations throughout Southwest Florida’s five-county area to programs that create better life outcomes for our area’s youth. JLFM memberships are open to all women aged 21 and older of all races, religions and national origin who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to voluntarism.

For more information, call 239-277-1197 or visit