Yep...it's true! As a member of a time bank you can get needs met and you don't need to spend money to do it. Sounds pretty good right?
As we discussed in previous posts, in time banking we believe that everyone has skills to share with others and everyone has needs that friends and neighbors can help you with. There is a reciprocity in time banking, a give and take which is rooted in skills and interests rather than in a monetary relationship.
Once you become a time bank member you can begin to spend the Time Dollars you earned by requesting a service from other members. These requests are then automatically emailed out to the membership and members have a chance to respond and fulfill your request. So I just took a look at the Phoenixville Area Time Bank webpage (BTW: the Good Neighbors website will be up and running by this time next month...we hope!) and went to their request page. This is a list of all the types of requests currently in circulation within the PATB.
Let's say you need sewing help. Perhaps you're like me...short...5'2"...and usually need you pants hemmed. You can make a request for a member to hem your pants. Easy Peasy!
OK- so maybe you're a normal sized human and don't need a lot of clothing hemmed. Maybe you're looking for some financial information. Now, you would not want to ask me for financial help, but there are lots of other members who have the knowledge and experience to help you. No problem!
Don't need financial assistance? How about help gardening or with yard work? There are members who could help you with weeding or learning about how to grow vegetables. So cool!
Also, on the PATB website is a list of the the time bank's talents. This is my favorite by the way.
According to this amazing list of talent, there are 18 members who are willing and able to help you with sewing. There are 7 members who can help you with your finances and there are a whopping 32 members who would love to help you in your garden! So get thinking about what talents you want to share with others and what some of your needs might be. Can't wait to get things started. Keep in mind that if you live/work in the Phoenixville Area you can join the Phoenixville Area Time Bank today! Reach out at www.patb.timebanks.org.
Until the next time...Cultivate Optimism!
So in order to participate in time banking you need to sign up as a member of the time bank. This usually entails filling out an application with demographic info. There may be a modest fee attached to joining a time bank. This fee covers the cost of the software time banks use to track your time dollars as well as other operating costs. If a fee would be an obstacle for you to join a time bank...never fear! There are easy ways around this. For example, you could provide 2 hours of volunteering to the time bank covering your fee. Once you are all signed up there is usually an orientation to go to. I would strongly advise you to take advantage of this. 1) You get to meet really NICE time banking people. 2) You get to learn about the FANTASTIC time bank you just joined and 3) You get to learn how to use the time bank SOFTWARE. Don't worry- the software is easy, but if you don't have a computer or computers are your mortal enemy there's ways around that too.
Now you're ready to start time banking. WOO HOO! I will use myself as an example. I am a member of the Phoenixville Area Time Bank (Check them out if you live in the Phoenixville area- they are Rock Stars!) I like to cook, so one service I offer the time bank is cooking meals. Members contact me through the time bank webpage and place their order. Last week I received an order for a vegetarian and egg free lasagna. After I get the request I:
1) Go to the grocery store to get the ingredients. The member who requested the lasagna will reimburse me the cost of the raw ingredients. In this case: noodles, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce.
2) Make the lasagna. I don't charge for the baking time, just the assembly.
3) Take the lasagna out of the oven and put instructions on the foil cover. Then its time to clean up.
4) The only thing left is to schedule a pick up or delivery and then "bank" your time. The requesting member paid me the money for the ingredients and 2 time dollars for 2 hours of service. Shopping, assembly, clean up and delivery.
Now the only question is...how will I spend my time dollars? Guitar lessons? Gardening help? Help with my taxes? Sky's the limit! Time banking is easy and fun. It brings people together and helps you to get all your needs met. Can't wait until will launch the Good Neighbors Time Bank in June. We hope to begin officially signing up members in April so stay tuned! Until then...Cultivate Optimism!
Sorry...this was meant to be the first blog post...blog fail! I'm learning so much everyday through this time bank project which I am sure is the most important part! So, trying again.
"In 900 years of time and space, I have never met someone who wasn't important."
- Dr. Who, by Steven Moffat
Although this quote (one of my favs) is not about time banking, it is this sentiment that drew me to time banking. Time Banking is a social construct that believes that every single person on this planet- and perhaps others- has something to offer others. Everyone has skills and strengths that others can benefit from. In time banking everyone is important and everyone's time is equal in value.
As we know these are not tenants that we often find in our society. We greatly underestimate the value and importance of so many people in our communities; seniors, the underemployed or unemployed, people who have a disability. In time banking all are valued and all find a place to belong.
That is why I have been looking for a way to strengthen and grow time banking opportunities in Southeast PA. The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council has generously provided vital funding to launch the Good Neighbors Time Bank and KenCrest, my employer, has come on board as the initiative's primary sponsor. Borrowing from Margaret Meade a small group of dedicated people have come together to shape our time bank and, we hope, to change the landscape of our communities for the better.
We are in the initial stages of planning and organizing. We are currently looking to hire a time bank coordinator. This role will be similar to Julie on the Love Boat (for anyone too young to remember Julie from the Love Boat feel free to Google her). Our Julie will be part event planner, part social director, and part liaison. If you love working with people (lots of people!) and have a passion for community development and social justice...this gig could be for you!
We are also looking for community partners who will offer up space for orientation and informational sessions, social activities and membership drives. If you want to be a part of this revolutionary initiative and have some space we can access feel free to reach out!
Visit our blog to keep up to date on our progress. We will be posting every step of the way.
And Remember...Cultivate Optimism.
Hi- I'm Alli. I am the Director of Employment and Day Programs at KenCrest. I am working with a dedicated group of community members and professionals to develop the Good Neighbors Time Bank. I am passionate about Social Capital Building, coffee, good books, great food, crochet and photography. I live a blessed life in Pottstown, PA surrounded by my husband, friends, family and 2 dalmatians. Life is good...with time banking it can be better!