Time Banking does many things for different people.
- If you like to volunteer and give time to your community, Time Banking is a way to get something back in exchange for your time. If you want to build a network of support within your neighborhood or community, Time Banking can help you do exactly that.
- Instead of paying professionals to look after your children, care for your aging parents, and do the work that family and neighbors used to do for one another, the members of our TimeBank can do those things for each other.
- If you freelance and there is a service you would be willing to provide if you could get other services from people in the community in trade, Time Banking provides a way to do so for your neighbors.
- If you have experience, skills, passions you are willing to share with people in the community but are on disability or unemployment status, or are otherwise having difficulty finding employment in our “cash-based” economy, Time Banking a way to use your talents without having to take a cash payment.
- If you are a social services professional and/or an individual committed to social change and social justice, Time Banking can help you involve the groups you are working with and give them a way to give back to each other and shape the outcome of their program.
- If you have a passion for seeing people rise out of poverty or finding ways to make ends meet without working multiple jobs, the “giving” or “sharing” economy created through a Timebank gives our neighbors options.
Time Banking creates connections through sharing skills.
As we launch, we will share the ideas from our neighbors about how they want to use Time Banking to achieve their goals. From other Time Banks, we have seen goals like the following:
Neighborhood renewal; Community building; Sustainability initiatives; Community safety; Healthcare cooperatives; Mutual support for single parent families; Peer self-help, especially for young people; Involving older people as active citizens and in mentorship roles; Integrating people with physical and learning disabilities; Respite for caregivers; Inter-generational understanding; Community colleges; Resident participation; Environmental clean ups and activism; Rehabilitation of substance abusers.
Why should I care?
What is so special about Time Banking?
Many people are looking up from their busy lives and wondering if something essential hasn’t gone missing. Is the nuclear family enough to feel fully alive? Some of us can remember a time when family members lived close by each other and we knew most of the people living in our neighborhoods. Some of us have only heard about it. Helping each other out was a given, something we did for each other every day. From watching someone’s kids for a few hours, dropping off meals for a sickly neighbor to potluck suppers and barn raisings, communities were full of exchanges and mutually supportive networks of family and friends.
Few people would disagree that times have changed, that these networks are gradually disappearing and few of us have family members nearby or neighbors we know well enough to turn to for support.
There are so many things we do that would be more efficient, fun, and meaningful when shared.
What services can I access with my banked time?
What can I do to “earn time”?
The list of possibilities is endless.
From walking a neighbor’s dog, oiling a squeaky door, raking leaves, stuffing envelopes, braiding hair, cooking meals, giving music lessons, running errands to lending professional advice, everyone has a valuable skill to share.
Hours may also be exchanged for group and community projects – either donating hours to a project or earning hours volunteering time for a project. Projects are built around many requests in the community including education, medical care, elder care, youth, social justice.
We invite you to look to your neighbors for assistance in doing things that today, perhaps you cram into your already busy schedule – or pay someone else to do. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a resource pool of people and skills that you can draw upon?
What if I don’t have time for volunteering?
Isn’t this just one more thing that’s going to eat up my extra time?
Not unless you want to give extra time! Many of the services we exchange in a Time Bank are the types of things we are already doing every day for our friends or neighbors. For example, those of us who have children are already cooking for them, driving them to activities, and helping them with their schoolwork—among other things. Cooking an extra portion of food for someone down the street who is housebound, picking up your neighbor’s kids on the way to soccer practice, or helping the child down the street with his homework don’t add work to your day. Or, if you have a dog and take it for a walk every day, why not pick up your neighbor’s dog along the way?
For professionals like doctors, lawyers and business people, Time Banking is a way to give back to your community without having to go someplace else on someone else’s schedule. For example, you can just set aside 10% of your appointment calendar for Time Bank members.
Even better, Time Banking helps you gain extra time because down the road, you can exchange the hours you’ve earned and have someone else do something for you that you can’t fit into your schedule or simply don’t know how to do!