I recently came across a heartwarming article on a TimeBanking in Louisville, Kentucky. The idea of a group of 30 or so random individuals coming together to share what they can do with each other to begin creating common threads of a community is very cool (here is the original article). Here’s an excerpt:
“At heart, this is what a TimeBank has to offer. TimeBanking may be new to Louisville, but the movement began in Washington, D.C. founded by Dr. Edgar Cahn in 1995. Today more than 40 states and 34 countries have working TimeBanks. A TimeBank is an organization that brings together people in the same community who provide goods and services with an alternative currency. This currency – the Time Dollar – works like this: You answer a request on the TimeBank website from Member A who needs her house weatherized. You spend one hour caulking windows, therefore you earn one Time Dollar. This Time Dollar can be spent on an offer made by another member. Perhaps you want to learn how to crochet, so you spend your Time Dollar receiving personal crochet lessons from Member B. It is not necessary to do equal exchanges like a bartering system. TimeBanks operate through community involvement. The premise of TimeBanking is to do meaningful work and receive meaningful work, regardless of what you or any other member can afford. And this is welcome news during an ailing economy.”
TimeBanking essentially builds on the principle that everyone has something to give. By putting a group of people together and each offering their skills, everyone can get something they need for something they easily can do. Everyone also builds relationships in the process.
For instance, one individual may be a great handyman, but have no idea how to fix a computer. When enough skills match up, everyone can win. The model sounds great until we all try putting it into practice in real life. Will there be one person who accepts help from many without giving back? Or individuals with skills that no one needs? How does the group fabric stay positive and continue to grow over time?
If this new kind of social networking is interesting to you, check out timebanks.org and you can create a TimeBank or likely find some in your area. There are currently 147 people participating in the Tampa TimeBank alone! Are they right for Southwest Florida and if so, is the time now?
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