CAN'T Escape Room

Cultural Landscape

Property is a reality for many individuals and families.

...But unless you've experienced poverty, it's difficult to truly understand.

In America, 37 million people, including 1 in 6 children, live at or below the poverty line.

Did You Know:

Researchers have found that emotional empathy is more likely to lead to action than cognitive empathy.

So how do we help people understand just how tough life can be when you live in poverty?

What is a 'Can’t Escape Room'?

An immersive, 60-minute, adventure room in which people are locked in order to get a glimpse of how low-income, disabled, and social security dependent families survive. Groups will have to race against the clock to solve a series of puzzles to accomplish a goal before time runs out!

The Goal

The experiential nature of this themed room helps organizations and communities more deeply understand the human and systemic impacts of poverty. 

For years, many top down or well-intentioned approaches to poverty have left out the wisdom and lived experiences of those closest to the challenges. We hope to shed light on these challenges and incite meaningful dialogue and action. This experience challenges participants to:

  • Rethink Poverty

  • Respond Effectively

  • Inspire Local Change

  • Transform Perspectives

How We Will Do It:

Created with the input of individuals with personal experience in poverty, we will partner with a local escape room and BPI Chicago, Business for the Public Interest, to sensitize participants to the realities and human impact of poverty and shift the understanding of poverty as a structural failure of society.

Prior to starting, you will take on the identity of someone like Belinda. You will work together with your family to live a month in poverty = 1 hour in escape room. 

The services you need like banks, schools and grocery stores are puzzles and riddles that line the perimeter of the room. You may find a container that needs a passcode to open, or a lock that needs a key.

Like real life, you need transportation to work or school. You need food on the table. You might struggle with a chronic illness. Throughout the month you will face the daily stresses and challenges a person in poverty faces.

Ready to Take Action?

Truly insightful, this experiential learning opportunity would be just the start of the conversation for participants to take meaningful action.

*More information on how to get involved would be provided at the end of this experience.