United Way Research Partnership with Thompson Rivers University

Thompson Rivers University’s Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) is in a formal partnership with the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way and the Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) to work together on community-based research.

Projects encompass the following goals that reflect the CURA mandate:

  • Promote sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise between the CURA and the community
  • Enrich research, teaching methods and curricula at TRU
  • Reinforce community decision-making and problem-solving capacity
  • Enhance students’ education and employability by means of diverse opportunities to build their knowledge, expertise and work skills through hands-on research and related experience

What are the positive effects of groups of employees giving back to non-profits in the form of manual labour?

Is someone with a low understanding of interest rates more likely to use a payday loan service?

Can the homeless use theatre to work through some of their challenges?

These are among the questions being examined through this research partnership.

The projects examine the Days of Caring program operated by the United Way, fringe financial institutions, and how participating in community theatre can be used as therapy for the homeless.

A brief description of each:

This project examined United Way’s Day of Caring volunteer initiative, and the impact of participation in a volunteer project at a non-profit agency on commitment and further giving to the community and United Way.


In partnership with Changing the Face of Poverty this project looked at the correlation between low financial literacy and use of fringe financial institutions (Pay Day loan companies).

The goal is to have partners in Changing the Face of Poverty look at alternatives to offer individuals based on the results of the research.


The ‘No Straight Lines’ project is a community based multimedia theatre project aimed at ending homelessness.

The name refers to the fact that there is no one straight path out of homelessness but many paths with different corners and turns to navigate.

The goal is to help end homelessness through creative exploration and life skills development. A live performance is slated to take place in Kamloops the summer of 2014.