Reach (Reach Rural Elder Assistance for Care and Health)
The Reach project served residents of Vermont’s capital Montpelier, (with approximately 8,000 residents) and the surrounding mostly-rural communities in Central Vermont.
The goal of Reach was to adapt the Time Bank model to create an innovative service exchange network that will reliably mobilize community-based volunteers to serve the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities. Time spent in services and activities is “banked” and can be redeemed for services offered by other program members. Specific goals included:
- Developing the Reach social enterprise infrastructure enabling stakeholders, community members, elders, caregivers, and people with disabilities to build networks of giving/receiving.
- Creating Reach policies and procedures, training curriculum, and outreach strategy
- Integrating paid and community-based services by supplementing, not replacing, the established social service system.
- Promoting the social engagement of all community members and encouraging greater social cohesion through volunteerism and one-to-one interactions.
- Facilitating affordable access to care for elders.
Specific accomplishments of the Reach project include:
- Joining with Onion River Exchange (ORE—a traditional Time Bank in the Montpelier area) to provide a supplemental program to meet the particular needs of older adults and people with disabilities, including:
- assistance with the identification of exchangeable skills, development of exchanges, and logging hours into an internet-based tracking system;
- member background checks;
- linkages with community organizations; and
- referrals within the formal service delivery system.
- Targeting five priority areas: in-home care, transportation, preventive health education, civic and social engagement, and life-long learning.
- Facilitating the documented exchange of over 6,700 hours of service (as of October 2012) for and from older adult and disabled members (it is estimated that - due to underreporting of exchanges - actual hours of service is significantly higher).
- Increased social engagement by bringing together strangers of different ages, abilities and life experiences.
- Garnering high levels of satisfaction among members (89% of members surveyed in August 2012 said they would definitely recommend Reach to others)
- Care Canvas Project (Reach members’ artwork)
- Reach newspaper ad (“Free Alpaca Sitting”)
- “A Community Time Bank” article in The New York Times’ The New Old Age blog (by Paula Span, January 5, 2012)
REACH has been covered in national and local newspapers during their project period, including this story in The New York Times: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/a-community-time-bank/
The REACH project’s Principal Investigator Gwendolyn Hallsmith (Montpelier, Vermont’s Director of Planning and Community Development) wrote the book Creating Wealth with Bernard Lietaer, an expert on “complementary currencies.” In it, they talk about time banks and the Reach project.
Reach (Rural Elder Assistance for Care and Health), a project of Onion River Exchange (ORE)
Heather Kralik, Outreach
Chloe Budnick, Member Mobilization
Irvin Eisenberg, Project Support Coordinator
Click here for a detailed case study of the CIAIP Reach project, including accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned.