Examining alternative community-based transportation services for older adults in British Columbia

Transportation is now recognized as a social determinant of health. And yet the current transportation system is not set up to meet the day-to-day needs of the aging population. Within the next decade, a quarter of the population in BC will be over the age of 65. As the population ages, a decline in cognitive and physical abilities will require people to give up driving. To promote healthy aging, we need to introduce, at scale, a range of reliable alternative transportation services for older adults.

Journeys through Early Learning and Care

The Mitacs project will build on the findings of a 2019 study and explore the experiences of newcomer families—specifically those in the cultural minority—with children 0-5 years old in community-based early learning and child care (ELCC) in Edmonton. The study will look at the lived experiences of these families as they access and receive ELCC in Edmonton, and see what opportunities exist to bridge the gap between cultural minorities and mainstream ELCC to shift approaches and practices.

Digital data: linking rural innovation, access, and resiliency through community hubs

Online Digital Hubs (ODH) have the capacity to promote resiliency and connectivity, countering barriers to accessibility and disruption (Lamport-Lewis & Deacon 2020; McShane et.al 2012; Rundel et.al 2020). This is of particular relevance in rural and peri-rural spaces as traditional third spaces such as churches and community centers are in decline, taking with it opportunity for knowledge sharing and overlooking the lack of resources for new and atypical voices in community planning.

Combating loneliness at the neighbourhood level: Developing a Community Cohesion Index

With an increasing concern toward social isolation and loneliness issues in society, there is growing interest in social initiatives aiming to enhance social connectedness within communities. To make such efforts sustainable, the next step would be to evaluate their effectiveness to develop evidence-based practices. The goal of this project is to build a reliable assessment tool, named Community Cohesion Index (CCI), that measures the social cohesion between and among neighbors.

Supporting Non-Profits through COVID-19: Online Social Innovation Labs

United Way will be adapting their resources around the creation of a Social Innovation Lab to provide support to organisations impacted by COVID19, specifically be increasing their capacity to deal with new COVID-related challenges. The research will provide evidence and direction for the creation an online collaborative platform that allows community service agencies to access expertise, support and training through a dedicated online portal.

Obstacles and Opportunities in Improving Social Service Intake Referral Processes

When people seek help from a social service, the assistance they need may be best provided by another service in the community. In these cases, they should be referred to the appropriate service. At this stage, things sometimes go wrong: Sometimes the service agent misunderstands the person’s needs or misunderstands the kind of help provided by other local services. Or sometimes the agent doesn’t explain enough about why another service would be helpful.

Evaluation Capacity Network: Aligning Evaluative Thinking and Practice among Early Childhood Stakeholders

This project aims to provide much needed evidence to non-profit organizations working with vulnerable children and their families in five inner city schools. The All in for Youth initiative is a collaboration of eight organizations offering integrated, multi-dimensional supports to improve academic outcomes and resiliency of vulnerable children, support family health and stability, get communities involved, and inform policy and systems change.