A Driving Need / Un besoin très moteur

At the University of Victoria, the Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit (RPKM) is a campus and community-wide portal to support the development of transformative research. We bring outstanding researchers together with community partners to co-create knowledge for action –knowledge that is mobilized to improve the social, cultural and economic well-being of communities throughout our region and around the globe. Here’s a look at some of our projects with community partners in 2014.

À l’Université de Victoria, l’unité Partenariats en recherche et Mobilisation des connaissances (Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit, RPKM) est un portail ouvert aux gens du campus et de la communauté, destiné à soutenir et à renforcer la recherche transformatrice. Nous réunissons des chercheurs exceptionnels et des partenaires de la communauté afin qu’ils créent ensemble un savoir en action – un savoir mobilisé dans le but d’améliorer le bien-être social, culturel et économique des collectivités de notre région et du monde entier. Voici quelques-uns des projets en cours en 2014.

Dr. Holly Tuokko

Dr. Holly Tuokko worked with the James Bay Community Project to identify better ways to recruit volunteer drivers

Study searching for ways to connect Victoria seniors with much-needed transport.

For seniors who are no longer able to drive, there remain few viable options for transportation. And while the James Bay Community Project (JBCP) is trying to help by offering free rides to important medical appointments, there currently aren’t enough volunteer drivers to meet the community’s high demand.

This issue is the driving force behind the partnership between the JBCP and UVic’s Centre on Aging (COAG).

Aiming to identify the best ways to recruit volunteer drivers, Dr. Holly Tuokko, professor of psychology at UVic, is working with the JBCP’s current volunteer drivers to explore what aspects of the experience they enjoy or find rewarding, as well as parts of the program that could be improved.

The JBCP is hoping to use the results of this study to better reflect incentives for joining in their recruitment strategies, and to improve the program itself.

Finding new ways to recruit volunteer drivers is a pursuit that goes beyond mere transportation. The study found that while volunteer drivers are a vital part of keeping Victoria seniors physically healthy, they also play an important role in maintaining our elders’ emotional well-being. “Sometimes these volunteers are the seniors’ only form of social contact,” says Dr. Vincenza Gruppuso, research coordinator at COAG. “They’re more than just drivers.”

Other organizations, such as Capital City Volunteers and Saanich Volunteer Services, have also taken an interest and contributed to the study, hoping to use the results to bolster their own volunteer recruitment.

For information on COAG’s research, click here.

Interested in volunteering for the JBCP? Click here.

This post was first published on March 13, 2015 on the University of Victoria’s Community Current blog.

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