Poverty Simulation – A Call for Your Engagement

A relatively new Rotary Club of Harrisburg (RCH) member, Vladimir Beaufils, brings a booming base voice and vast knowledge of the ravages of poverty to light for our members.  New and old connections made through the Rotary Club of Harrisburg have sparked new avenues for him and our members to change the patterns of poverty.

Using those connections has spurred new opportunities for Vlad to put his decades of understanding the trials of poverty; even as he claims to be “retired.”

To fully grasp Vlad’s life experiences, we need to look into his passion working to understand those ravages of poverty.  His commitment to helping others gives him a new perspective of his own privilege.

Born in one of the world’s poorest countries, in the town of Petion Ville Haiti, he simply had to walk the streets to see and absorb the challenges of poverty.  He lived in hiding until escaping to the United States in 1960, just shy of turning six years old.

Jumping to now, Vlad recently participated in the Tri-County Community Action Poverty Simulation.  The Simulation is a true-to-life role-playing experience for groups and organizations to experience first-hand the challenges, decisions and life of someone in poverty.  He called his recent volunteering experience with the Simulation, “an opportunity to be reminded of devastating effects poverty has on an individual and family in the daily, sometimes minute by minute decisions that must be made. Life is constantly in "survival mode".

Working in the poverty solutions arena and with Tri-County Community Action since 1995, he felt the need to develop a curriculum called Cracking the Class and Cultural Code. The curriculum is based on the book by Dr. Payne, "A Framework for Poverty". 

This led to his working statewide with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Abuse as he counseled others on how to develop solutions to the nagging problem, through facilitating training. Vlad notes that society is divided into three socio-economic strata:

  • Poverty (Two types, generational & situational)

  • Middle (Most working Americans)

  • Wealth (Millionaires and above)

These burning issues gave him the insight and fostered his passion to become the Founder and CEO of Sound Community Solutions. The organization has built excellence in the non-profit arena with a goal addressing the plight of poverty and the promotion of inclusion for over 25 years. 

The organization’s motto, “Experts by Experience” is reflective of Vlad’s own struggles with addictions and his learned and earned sobriety.  In his words, “My problems of the past became my platform for ministry.”  He serves as a Minister at the non-denominational church Day Spring Ministries.

Vlad chose to join the Rotary Club of Harrisburg after being invited to meetings by then member James Good. The commitments of Rotary and its 32,000 plus clubs, the Four Way Test and a commitment to Service Above Self drew Vlad into membership.

According to John J. “SKI” Sygielski, president, HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College and RCH member, “Mr. Beaufils has been a force within our community, and I am delighted that he will bring years of working with the re-entry population and an entrepreneur to service to those experiencing Rotary. I am confident we will all benefit from his winning ways, successful experiences and care for others.”

Past President Beth Mihmet made the connection to Vlad when the chair position of the DEI committee opened.

As you have come to learn, Vlad’s commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion has always been close to his heart and soul. He is a fond reader of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He describes himself as loving God, loving people and striving to be a blessing. He is committed to the ideals of Rotary and the services it provides.

At RCH, he is looking for volunteers to develop life-changing anti-poverty programming.  Anyone interested is invited to contact him at 717-385-1142 or at vrbjeb@gmail.com.  

The next session of the Poverty Simulation is being scheduled for 2024 and Rotary Club of Harrisburg is investigating ways to take part.  Contact Vlad for details.

This is one of many stories about the Connection Power of Rotary. If you have a potential similar story, please contact Past President Bob Saline at bsaline@prworks.info.

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