(Sherry A. Wells of Fern Dale Remembers, March 30, 2013)
“I could live in greater style without spending a penny,” said one enthusiastic member. “I could have a pretty, productive garden and painted front steps while making friends with those I help right here in Ferndale.”
This nonprofit community-building concept is better than barter and because of its format, is not taxable. Rather than a one-on-one exchange, members list time and services they can offer to other members in the pool and post their needs or wants. Members earn and spend Time Hours when those requests are completed.
Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, of the London School of Economics in England, formulated this idea in 1980 to “value everyone’s contributions equally.” He believed that, “We have what we need if we use what we have,” and proposed the alternative economic model of exchanging time and skills instead of cash.
In 2008, Kim Hodges first organized one in Lathrup Village and then the Michigan Association of Time Banks in 2009. Michelle Foster brought Ferndale on board shortly afterwards.
When Michelle took a position elsewhere, Joe Spain stepped up. He’s teased for being “a man named Spain who gives TimeBankers lessons on Italian cooking.”
In response to members’ concerns, Joe said, “We found a more user-friendly software for members to keep track of their hours and submit their requests.”
An orientation to the new system will be Wed., April 3 at the library from 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your laptop if you have one.
Hours can be earned by chores such as minor home repair and other help around the house and yard, transportation, tutoring, errands, pet or child care, reading aloud, teaching skills–such as crafts, music and languages–computer help, sewing and many, many others. A sample list is available at every event.
At her first meeting, Sherry Wells listed a few things she could do and a few she wanted. The facilitator asked the participants to tell what was on their lists. As she listened, Sherry began adding to both of her lists, thinking, “I can do that, too,” and “Oh! I’d like that help.”
Heather gave a party with the assistance of Adrianne and Kat. When her guests offered to help, she answered, “No, thank you.” She smiled and, waving towards two women in matching blue T-shirts, said, “I have TimeBank helpers!”
Children can belong as part of a family membership, doing chores on their own such as raking lawns or as a Mother’s Helper or as part of a group project. They can trade in their TimeHours for wants as well, such as learning new skills or being tutored.
Initial membership during this period is $20 a person and $40 per family to cover administrative expenses. All time is volunteered–and credited with Time Hours.
There is a place for nonprofits in the system. The all-volunteer Motor City Free Geek is offering space for some of the events and looks forward to receiving in-kind help, which will be credited to TimeBank members.
The revitalized group has planned many activities, including:
Wed., April 3, 6 to 8 p.m., Ferndale Public Library, orientation to the new improved software.
Fri., April 12, 7 to 9 p.m. 1511 Jarvis, NW corner at Wanda, a potluck to enjoy getting acquainted.
Sat., April 27, 1 to 4 p.m., Family Fundale in downtown Ferndale. Huntington Bank is hosting the TimeBank informational display and game for kids and adults.
Sat., May 11–Second annual “Clean up Ferndale.” We’ll take part and have information available.
Mid-May–group projects helping each other set up gardens.
Sat. and Sun. May 18 and 19, TimeBank garage sale at 1043 Alberta.
For more information, contact Joe Spain at email@example.com or (734) 934-4312.
Previous TimeBank stories:
Check out their website at http://www.ferndaletimebank.org/.
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FerndaleTimeBank.