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Rural Health Information Hub

Onion River Exchange

  • Project Title: Onion River Exchange Time Bank
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Eric Bachman, Secretary, Board of Directors
  • Location: Montpelier, VT
  • Program Overview: The Onion River Exchange program began in 2008 and serves residents of Montpelier and the surrounding rural communities using the Time Bank model. This model creates an innovative service exchange network based upon the understanding that everyone, no matter what age and ability, has valuable skills that they can share with each other. Based in the community, time bank participants give and receive services amongst each other. This, of course, includes older adults and individuals with disabilities, who share their skills and have access to services from other time bank members. These exchanges both supplement the established social service system and facilitate affordable access to care and services, as well as providing a place to participate as valued members of the community. Time spent or earned in services and activities is “banked” and can be redeemed for services offered by other program members. ORE's mission statement is to promote “the exchange of skills and talents, using time instead of money, to increase the sustainability and well-being of communities.” The ORE program is an example of how to provide services to older adults aging in place, and also how to engage them in using their own talents to help their community. Since it was founded in 2008, more than 45,500 hours of service have been exchanged.

    In 2010, the community created a Time Bank specific to the needs of older adults, called Rural Elder Assistance for Care and Health (REACH), which targeted five priority areas: in-home care, transportation, preventive health education, civic and social engagement, and life-long learning. In its first two years, the REACH program facilitated the exchange of more than 6,700 hours of service, both to and from older adults. REACH merged with ORE in 2012 in order to facilitate a broader exchange of skills and services and to foster intergenerational social and community connectedness, a key element of supporting aging in place.

Models represented by this program: