By Grace Maselli
It’s about connection. In person. “Facetime” as it was originally intended! (Remember, Oprah won’t be there to help hoist that tree out of your driveway after a Florida-style storm. Sheldon and his geeky Big Bang Theory friends won’t give you a ride to the airport or scrub the barnacles off your boat in a timebank swap.) But you stand a REAL chance with REAL people in Tampa Bay. And even more so if they know who you are! So come to our TBT social the first Monday of every month. Host a potluck. Or a game night and earn TBT hours! Dust off the Scrabble boards and open up your living room for a retro experience in real time; throw in some mixed nuts and lemonade to make it super groovy. We’d love to see more of our 590 members in all three dimensions (or all 10 if you’re a Superstring theorist)! Check the TBT calendar for times and locations.
By Grace Maselli
That’s right, at TBT we’re 590 MEMBERS STRONG with a tally of 23,398 hours exchanged as of this moment in time! We’re making valuable deposits into the local community with no bank tellers, no dollar transactions, no drive-throughs! Rather, we pay dividends to our peeps using skills swapping and connection to our local residents in an alternative system of shared interest and assistance. We’re contributing rides, fixing toilets, grooming dogs, and gardening for each other. Tell your friends. Expand the network of neighborliness!
By Grace Maselli
Time as Money is a 70-minute documentary directed by Lenore
Eklund and released in 2015 featuring, of course, Edgar Cahn. In it, the beauty of skills swapping, “alternative” currency, creating a network of support and a “secret economy” that builds real life, real world, REAL (not virtual!) connections between humans figures largely. Ironically, it looks like a direct download will run you $2.99+. Or, for a free copy, you can always set your sights on that venerable, enduring community system: the public library. “Everyone has something of value to offer,” says Cahn in Time as Money. Who wants to host a movie night at their place? Invite TBT timebankers and earn hours. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Grace Maselli
Timebanking founder Edgar Cahn, now an octogenarian, has wisdom to share. “Timebanking is an explicit way of harnessing self-interest and altruism,” he notes. Sure, people who join have specific interests and needs, but there’s beauty in timebanking’s alchemy informed by another medium of exchange. Beyond cash transactions, people involved in timebanks tend to assign value to what Edgar calls “physic income.” That which is earned on behalf of the human soul. The spirit. With all of it potentially nurtured by helping others as one’s own needs are also met. For the biggest payoff, empathy and caring are marbled into the equation.
Said another way, the exchange of task-and-time itself, the interplay of doing and giving, has intrinsic value. But currency also comes in the form of self-esteem, Edgar believes. For example, “Teachers take lower salaries because their self-esteem is based in part on the choice to make the world better. You get psychic income from feeling good about yourself.” (Of course, our devoted teachers in Tampa Bay deserve psychic income and dollars, this writer believes.) So here’s a hats-off to TBT and its raison d’être: “nourishment” of the psyche and community in its multiple and invaluable forms.
By Grace Maselli
Combining compassion with creative thinking, Edgar Cahn linked currency with “social care networks” in 1995 when he founded TimeBanks USA, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. A law professor and speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy, Cahn’s sense of community consciousness and collaboration has long been established. Respect and reciprocity underpin Cahn’s system of exchange: where an hour of work to assist a neighbor with a task—whether it’s donating time to help clean out a garage or cook and deliver a meal—is exchanged and the doer receives and a hour of timebank credit for each hour of work completed. Paying it forward, being available to community members in need. Such notions began with an idea from Cahn who formalized it into timebanking and who continues to care about building connections between people and advancing social justice causes, including his work on behalf of Native Americans and defending their civil rights. Keep your eyesopen. More to come on the history of timebanks and Cahn.
By Grace Maselli
TBT recently interviewed member Virginia Rieck Warren. We pulled the proverbial camera way back during the exchange and took a look at TBT through Virginia’s eyes as a public health professional. “Published research indicates time banks have the capacity to increase social capital: and those community connections make towns and cities more resilient,” Virginia offered.
Little Things Can Matter
Even small gestures—connecting through TBT to help in someone’s garden, or tutor a young person learning to read. Outside the time bank, ask office co-workers about their families and vacations, let a neighbor know you’re available to help with an errand, open the traffic flow to another driver, compliment a friend in a meaningful way. These small acts of connection and caring help strengthen social ties. They’re small gestures of engagement that let people know you’re thinking about them and they can make a huge, positive difference in a person’s life. Dr. Joe Kelly’s “Project Change” is a case in point. Based in Vancouver, Joe is self described as an “innovator in sustainability and social change.” You too can make your town and city more resilient by signaling interest in the people around you.
Greetings Tampa Bay Time website visitors! Find more of our latest news and events on Facebook. This is a link to the Tampa Bay Time Bank Facebook page.
This is a story about how simply accounting for the silly little unpaid things that we do outside of the market economy are actually beautiful, noble, and incredibly valuable. Time Banking may be thought of as a mechanism for giving credit to the hours we spend helping friends, neighbors and building community. Assigning value to these unpaid acts of service acknowledges their role in keeping the market economy humming and reminds us of our basic human need to feel worthy and valued no matter our socioeconomic status.
On a recent trip to Maine I suddenly realized the value of compound interest when I joyfully offered half of the Time Bank hours in my account to a Time Bank member in Maine who generously provided me a week’s lodging in her home. This transaction saved me more than $600 that otherwise would have been deposited in the market economy C/O Marriott Hotels. The cool part is, not only did I save money, I met new friends, had a great experience, and helped weave the Time Bank communities of Maine and Florida together. By simply adding up all the little times and ways I said yes to my Time Bank and its members I came away feeling- not used and spent- but completely energized! Now that is what I call hitting the Time Bank Jack Pot!
The muscular market economy has us so well trained. We forget how to think outside of it. Such was the case when planning my trip to Maine. When I learned lodging at the Fairfield Inn was $99 a night I was aghast. Shrewd and inspired I thought of Time Bank! That I even came up with the idea of Time Bank was a miracle in itself! I wondered if Augusta had a Time Bank? My fingers began to fly across the computer keyboard as I researched time banks in Maine.
I emailed Stacey Jacobson, the Director of T.I.M.E., Time Initiative of Maine located in Augusta. The tag line for T.I.M.E. is “ It’s Your Time. Make It Count.” Stacey hastily addressed my request for lodging, posting a member alert that was attached to an automatic update that was sent to all time bank members.
Like pennies from heaven, offers for housing began to flood my email inbox. I received three offers! Wow! Now I had to choose! I didn’t expect that! I opted to stay with Rebecca Singer. She said she had a guest room that her mother from Clearwater stays in. Yes, she has a mother from Clearwater, Florida! Who knew? Stacey kept in touch with both me and Rebecca to make sure connections were made. Rebecca also offered to pick me up from the local bus station in Augusta and offer me rides around town. This Time Bank concierge service simply can’t be beat! I felt completely pampered.
After showing me to the guest room in her quaint 100 year old house Rebecca took me to her grandfather’s house. Her entire family was gathered for a father’s day get together. The nicest folks you could meet! Then we headed to nearby historic Hollowell, met up with Rebecca’s boyfriend Erik, and enjoyed live music and craft beer at The Liberal Cup. Ah! Life is good!
I spent my week in Augusta attending Compost School. Early in the week Rebecca drove me to school and Erik picked me up. By midweek I hitched rides from compost classmates. Evenings found me showered and in my plaid flannel pajamas by 7:00pm. Rebecca and Erik were so incredibly easy to be around. Eric, an inventor, made a scrumptious stew and multi talented theatrical Rebecca sang around the house with the most beautiful voice I have ever heard! I ask you, were else can you go and mingle with people you just met in your pajamas and feel like it was the most normal and natural thing? I dare say not at the Fairfield Inn!
When Friday came, and my week came to a close, Rebecca and I discussed our exchange. We mutually agreed upon a set number of hours per day, in our case 5 hours, that I would pay her. Rebecca said that she planned on using her hours to give her son Joseph piano lessons. I offered Rebecca and Erik a place to stay when they come to Clearwater, Florida to visit her mother.
When I returned to Florida I learned that the Founder of Tampa Bay Time Bank, Marie Nelson, had been in touch with Stacey Jacobson, the Director of Time Initiative of Maine. It seems that both leaders see the potential for a weaving together or mutual partnership between the two Time Banks as many Mainers visit Florida and many Floridians visit Maine. Ah! Life is good! And with Time Bank, it just gets better and better!
So keep on flexing your Time Bank muscle! The little daily or weekly things you do for each other and your communities are really beautiful, noble, and so valuable! Use the hOurworld app on your cell phone and capture these Time Bank moments. You are worth it. The little moments of making exchanges doing freely what we love be it weeding, driving, organizing, or advising are the things that unite us, excite us, and make us human!
Saturday, July 25, 2015 is our next Abundance Swap & Ice Cream Social! Bring your gently used items and swap them for something else. Help others in need, clear out your clutter and put your stuff back in circulation. Recycle, reuse, re-deploy!
Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 1-4pm.
The following is a description of a permaculture site being developed in Clearwater through the efforts of Tampa Bay Time Bank member Koreen Brennan. It is a good example of how effective permaculture events like “permablitzes” can be and what Hibiscus House is doing in Clearwater. Tampa Bay Time Bank members can earn TBT hours working at permablitzes like this one.
We’re installing a comprehensive urban permaculture design at our 1/3 acre property in Clearwater, and have been having a series of “permablitzes” to accomplish this. Some of the design elements include: Sunburst raised beds, fruit trees and perennial edibles (goodbye lawn!), rainwater catchment, outdoor solar shower and much more.
The first week we had about 25 people on the scene – this mighty crew moved 5 truckloads of mulch into raised beds. That was a huge part of what we needed and would have taken us month. The second week we had about 10 people who were also mighty – we pinpointed the sewer pipes, created a hugulkulture mound (tree trunks under soil, replicating forest floor), dug out part of the pond, planted tons of seeds, and many other permaculture inspired features.
The third week we’re going to continue the comprehensive design, eventually producing hundreds of pounds of food and cuttings to spread to others, and demonstrating many elements of a highly productive urban permaculture site. We’ll have free cuttings of easy to grow plants and good camaraderie and conversation, and yes, Time Bank hours!
Contact us to take a look! Best, Koreen Brennan
Email Koreen at email@example.com