Incorporated in 1993, Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources (C.I.D.E.R.) was developed as a result of a 1988 community needs assessment conducted in the five towns of Grand Isle County. The needs assessment suggested that the population of elders and persons with disabilities was not (at that time) sufficient to justify development of housing, and that efforts should be directed at providing the resources and assistant that individuals would need in order to remain living independently in their own homes.
Initially, a completely volunteer based program, C.I.D.E.R. provided information and referral, and a variety of personal services such as rides to medical appointments, reassurance calls, and friendly visitors. In 1994, C.I.D.E.R. contracted with the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging to manage the senior meals program operated out of the South Hero Congregational Church, and in 1998 hired an individual to serve as a part-time cook for the meals program. At about this same time, funding to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles and transportation for medical appointments, senior meals, and grocery shopping was provided to C.I.D.E.R. through the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
As the number of requests for assistance grew (along with a rapid increase in the number of elders living in “the Islands”) C.I.D.E.R. hired an executive director, a program coordinator, and additional staff drivers. Currently, C.I.D.E.R. employs a full-time executive director and dispatcher, and 13 other part-time employees including a program coordinator, two meal-site cooks, and ten van drivers. C.I.D.E.R. continues to rely heavily upon volunteers, and over 130 different individuals provided assistance in some fashion during the past 12 months. Transportation continues to be the largest of C.I.D.E.R.’s programs, and the organization was acknowledged as the 2005 National Rural Community Transportation Program of the Year. C.I.D.E.R. also operates the senior meals program (including meals-on-wheels); collects and loans special needs equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs; sponsors an end-of-life education and information program; provides exercise programs for older adults; publishes a monthly newsletter; and coordinates volunteers building wheelchair ramps and other home accessibility programs, making friendly visits and reassurance calls, providing tax and computer assistance, and a wide variety of other individualized services.
C.I.D.E.R., Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, human service organization. C.I.D.E.R.’s mission is to develop and foster resources that enable the people of Grand Isle County (Vermont) to live in their community with dignity. C.I.D.E.R. accomplishes this by providing direct services and collaborating with other individuals and groups. C.I.D.E.R. feels a special responsibility to elders and persons with disabilities.
C.I.D.E.R. is a membership organization with currently over 400 members in the fold. Membership allows you to be on the board of directors and also to vote for the slate of officers and the board of directors at the annual meeting usually held in October. More importantly, members of C.I.D.E.R. know that with their membership and support they are making a difference in the lives of Grand Isle County elders and persons with disabilities. Our sincere thanks to all who are paid-up, “card-carrying” members of C.I.D.E.R.