When the Healthy Buddy Program (HBP) at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) was moved completely online in May, program leaders shifted their attention from coordinating rides for seniors to getting them information about COVID-19.
Founded in 2018 by Jang, HBP started with the goal of connecting senior citizens who don’t drive in Hillsborough County with student volunteers who assist them in developing a personalized transportation plan in an effort to improve their quality of life and solve equity disputes among older populations. Currently, 233 student volunteers are involved in the program.
To complete the program, a senior must attend one session that assesses the needs of the senior, attend a second session in which they are paired with students to create transportation plans and fill out a post-program survey. So far, only five seniors have fully completed it.