Academic researcher Dr Pam Kappelides of La Trobe University has been recognised with a Thought Leadership Award at the recent Volunteering Victoria State Volunteer Awards.
Dr Kappelides has applied highly developed research and training skills in the development of a resource kit that contributes important practical knowledge to the field of volunteering: in particular, the sport, recreation and disability sectors.
Dr Kappelides saw the need to address the under-representation of volunteers with a disability in the not for profit sector. There was limited research and few resources examining the barriers to including individuals with disabilities in volunteering, and even less research examining potential solutions. Volunteers and paid staff had no central and current resources that they could use in their programs.
Dr Kappelides’ research filled this gap by examining the benefits and barriers to including volunteers with disabilities in programs and services. The knowledge accrued from her 25-year track record of volunteering research was articulated through the development of a resource manual and website.
In 2013, funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria enabled Dr Kappelides to compile the manual and website which she titled “Be prepared! A resource guide for volunteers working with people with a disability in the active recreation and sport sector”. The resource aims to improve volunteer opportunities among volunteers in the not-for-profit sector; promote inclusion for people with a disability in volunteering; and improve volunteer management procedures and practices throughout programs and services across Victoria.
Dr Kappelides developed the kit with a project editorial team from Sport and Recreation Victoria, Knox City Council, Yooralla, Scope, People Outdoors, YMCA and volunteers from the sport and recreation sector. Launched in 2014, it has been highly acclaimed within the sport and recreation industries in Australia and internationally. The kit represents a significant achievement demonstrating Dr Kappelides’ collaboration with a number of key stakeholders in bringing this resource together.
Testimonials reflect that the manual and website, plus face to face training delivered by Dr Kappelides using the resource, have enhanced the ability of many organisations and volunteer managers to prepare and support volunteers in direct program delivery.
Dr Kappelides continues with concurrent research projects in the area of volunteer management as an extension of the resource kit. She is connecting with organisations and providing support, training and resources to enable organisations to engage with people with disabilities as volunteers.
Dr Kappelides has also coordinated the undergraduate subject Volunteer Management at La Trobe University. Over the past 6 years she has equipped more than 1200 students with the fundamentals of volunteer management practices which they take with them to careers in sport, recreation, health, events and business.
Dr Kappelides has worked tirelessly to develop curriculum and resources that are engaging and up to date both from her experience of the voluntary sector and her extensive body of volunteering research.
Congratulations to Dr Kappelides on her well-deserved Thought Leadership Award at the 2017 Volunteering Victoria State Volunteer Awards.
You can read the full list of winners here.