The Equal Opportunity Game: A Workshop for Youth

The Equal Opportunity Game: A Workshop for Youth

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Last Update: March 15, 2012

The Equal Opportunity Game is an interactive board game that simulates the experience of discrimination and its impact on a family’s access to opportunity. The workshop has three major objectives: to build leadership skills, to educate youth about civil rights and civic responsibility, and to engage students with a variety of learning styles through the real-life application of English language arts, history, economics and geography curricula. First, students draw “Character Cards”, which assign information about household, income, and individual needs. Then, students apply for housing using newspaper classifieds and a map. Some characters encounter housing discrimination based on race, religion, disability, family status, sex or national origin. Because of the way housing discrimination disrupts access to education, employment, healthcare, and economic opportunity, these characters encounter more barriers to achieving their goals via “Situation Cards” than those who get a house that meets their needs. The game is rigged similar to real-life situations and serves as a model for educators and advocates who seek to engage youth in dialogue about justice and equity.

The Equal Opportunity Game workshop is appropriate for students in grades four through eight and takes between six and eight hours. The workshop can be structured over two or more sessions.

In addition to the Housing Choice Game, GNOFHAC has written and published an illustrated children's book about fair housing called "The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House." GNOFHAC offer workshops for younger students in grades one through five that involve the book and a creative extension activity.

Type: citizen sector

The Problem

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is a private, non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to eradicating housing discrimination through education, investigation and enforcement activities. Recent studies by GNOFHAC show that housing discrimination is still a frequent occurrence in the greater New Orleans area. For example a 2007 audit showed a 58% rate of discrimination against African-Americans, and a 2009 audit showed widespread discrimination against people with disabilities. Historically, GNOFHAC has conducted outreach in the form of fair housing education to first-time homebuyers, landlords, service providers, and other adult community members. Because of the way that housing discrimination impacts families, GNOFHAC has sought for some time to expand outreach efforts to youth. GNOFHAC believes that youth should be educated about housing discrimination so that they may become advocates for diversity and watchdogs for injustice in their communities. Because GNOFHAC intends for students to share their experiences of the Equal Opportunity Game with their parents, guardians or teachers, the book also functions to educate adults in the community about fair housing law. Families with children are particularly vulnerable to housing discrimination and are specifically protected under the Fair Housing Act. Thus The Fair Housing Five represents an innovative form of outreach to a population deeply affected by housing discrimination.

The Solution

GNOFHAC hopes to conduct workshops with youth in schools throughout Louisiana, as well as to produce copies of the Equal Opportunity Game materials and facilitator guide to distribute to schools and fair housing organizations around the country. In addition, GNOFHAC would like to distribute copies of its children's book The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House and curriculum guide to schools nationwide.

Example

GNOFHAC partners with dozens of educators, schools, youth-serving organizations, and advocacy groups to bring the Equal Opportunity Game and its children's book The Fair Housing Five to youth in New Orleans and as far away as Michigan, Alabama, and Washington, DC. The workshop builds empathy, an appreciation of diversity, and a vocabulary around justice and equity in participating youth. As our next generation of leaders, it is important that youth learn about the impact of discrimination and the importance of equal opportunity at a young age so that they may bring these insights to their communities and work throughout their lives.

Budget: $1,000 - $10,000

Marketplace

Currently, there is a dearth of materials about fair housing and housing discrimination for young people and families. We seek to fill that void with the Equal Opportunity Game and the Fair Housing Five.

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Arpita Patel profile img
Tue, 06/04/2013 - 06:02

Nice topic. Great content as well. I have learned a lot from this blog. Thanks a lot to sharing such an informative news.