By Grace Maselli
He’s back and he’s headed north to Stowe, VT. The legendary Godzilla monster has been reimagined in 5′ 2″ of medical fiberglass casting bandages (and covered in an arty cocktail of materials: paper “clay” made of bamboo toilet paper, good old-fashioned white glue, and some dry wall compound) concocted by artist and TBT member, Delphine Geraci. “I’m also a bariatric nurse, so that’s what I could think of to make him extra strong,” says the ingenious road warrior.
Delphine took some of her inspiration from a paper clay art class offered through TBT partner organization, the Life Enrichment Center.
Bringing the mythic giant to life—complete with Mom tattoo and intimidating teeth—has been a Geraci family affair involving Delphine’s husband, Dean, and 13-year-old daughter, Stella. “We bought a little trailer and Dean built it up to exactly fit the 5’2″ Godzilla,” she says. Stella is on the road with Delphine as they wend their way toward New England, 1,200 miles north of Tampa to Stowe; it’s here where Godzilla will take up residence at Delphine’s friend’s bar and restaurant—or what Delphine describes as a big après ski hangout and sushi bar called The Matterhorn, otherwise known as Stowe’s world famous party spot voted #1 après ski joint in North America by USA Today readers. (Of course, there’s a certain poetic symmetry here. Godzilla as radioactive pop culture icon invented by Japanese filmmakers and known the world over AND beloved sushi—traditional Japanese haute cuisine made with rice, seaweed, raw seafood, and veggies.)
“I thought a giant Godzilla holding the Stowe ski gondola would be appropriate,” Delphine says.
By Grace Maselli
Earth Day. It’s an annual event that got kicked off in 1970. It’s a happening that beseeches us all to recognize our one-and-only precious planet beyond a single day. It’s an annual recognition that aims to appeal to our sense of community interconnection (think timebanking values!) and even small daily actions that can be taken by each of us to protect our faltering Big Blue Marble in the face of human-driven climate change and its dire and associated challenges.
Do One Small Thing to Make an Environmentally Positive Difference
Like EarthDay.org says, “As an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, a voter, and a member of a community that can unite for change.” This can begin with small acts of environmentalism. For instance:
• Get on board with the #2minutesolution and spend two minutes a week collecting litter and recycling as much as possible
• Try eating one meat-free meal a week to lower the carbon emission associated with industrial livestock production to feed the 7.9 billion people on our planet
• Aim to go paperless: read the digital editions of your faves (magazines or newspapers), snap a pic of a poster instead of grabbing paper or a leaflet
• Conserve water and turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth
• Say no to single-use plastic water bottles whenever possible
• And if it’s realistic, take public transit or car pool—or better yet, walk to a store (the latter is a carbon-neutral activity and you’ll get some exercise to boot!)
Recently our community came together to help avid gardener and timebanker Richard Silverman—a disabled senior—in the Indian Rocks area of Largo, FL. Richard was being threatened with a two-week eviction notice from his trailer park after many years of residency if he did not remove his lush garden and glorious multitude of plants. Timebankers from far and wide across the Tampa Bay area came to the rescue, hoisting plants onto the backs of trucks and in cars and giving the green beauties new homes in yards and gardens, sustaining photosynthesis and helping a fellow human being to breathe more easily. It was a beautiful thing.
Take It A Step Further
Readers can also consider joining the EarthDay.com movement and find out about related events in their local area by visiting the event map here. Think too about boosting your environmental education by trying your hand at one or more of eight Earth Day quizzes: Upcycled Foods, Whale Conservation, Protect Our Species, Climate Change, Oceans and Plastic Pollution, Environmental Literacy, Deforestation and Biodiversity, and Clean Energy.
And if you want more, check out Sierra Club’s and Friends of the Earth United States’, “What World Leaders Can Learn from India and Global Grassroots Calls for Climate Action,” part of President Biden’s summit kick off that brings together world leaders to discuss global efforts to combat climate change. You can also jump into the action at EarthDay Live 2021!
By Grace Maselli
It’s with heavy hearts and deep gratitude for her visionary work that we announce the death of Tampa Bay Timebank founder Marie Nelson. Marie died on January 21, the 21st day of the 21st year of 21st century. She was 78 years old.
Marie’s grassroots and tireless passion to structure and educate the community about timebanking—how it works and how it holds the potential to benefit intergenerational members of all communities—set the stage for a system of exchanges that continues to reach across Florida’s Tampa Bay Area, including more recent timebanks and timebank hubs in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Hernando Counties.
Petite in stature, Marie had Herculean energy for big picture strategy and hitting the pavement. She developed the inaugural Tampa Bay Area timebank, meeting with individuals, private businesses, and local government agencies in some cases to talk a blue streak about how to bring community members together to build timebanking alliances across counties and among neighbors.
“My mother was an exceptional woman,” says Naomi Nelson of Gainesville, FL. Marie is best described, Naomi says, as a person who dedicated her life professionally and privately to humanistic principles and ideas. “From the early 1960s, in every community she lived in, she was an activist and community organizer. She was not tied to a single ‘ism’ or oppression. [Her humanistic approach] was part of an integrated world view that encompassed her professional life in education, environmental and climate activism, racial and LGBTQ+ equality activism and, or course, the alternate economy work she did through the timebank.”
Fearless and Persevering
Marie was a bonafide academic who came from a long line of well-educated parents and grandparents. Her fearlessness and conviction is well demonstrated in a particular story Naomi shares. In the early 1960s Marie taught high school English at Furman College in Greenville, S.C. where she got her undergraduate degree. She taught for one year until she was fired from the job for leading interracial “meet and greets” in Greenville before desegregation, “so that black and white students could meet and talk to each other,” Naomi explains. Marie also lived and taught at Columbia S.C.’s Benedict College, a small historically black college in Columbia where she was very active in the Women’s Rights Movement and served as one of the founding members of the city’s National Organization of Women’s chapter.
“Marie was a strong and spirited woman and always made sure there was a place at the table for anyone who wanted to be involved with what she was doing,” says B.J. Andryusky, coordinator of the St. Petersburg Timebank and longtime friend of Marie’s.
Marie was no stranger either to the founder of timebanking himself, Edgar Cahn, a distinguished legal professor and former counsel and speech writer to Robert F. Kennedy. Dr. Cahn is the author of Time Dollars (1992) and No More Throw-Away People: The Coproduction Imperative (2004), detailing how to mobilize a non-market economy that recognizes and rewards reciprocal contributions of service and caring.
“With Marie Nelson’s passing, the timebank community lost a dear and precious member of the family,” Edgar remarks. Marie believed that, as people who care about community, “We are here for each other,” Edgar says. And for Marie, “Community was not just an array of nonprofits and transactions by networks of do-gooders. Community was simply family, extended family, open-ended family…For Marie, Community was organic and alive.”
Dr. Chris Gray, Edgar’s wife and partner in timebanking, believes “Marie brought people together. She helped them think about the future and its possibilities—possibilities anchored in values of social justice and equity. On that, she was always crystal clear, she never wavered. Edgar and I so valued knowing her, sharing ideas with her, learning where her thinking was going.”
Wisdom to Share
For nearly four years Marie lived in Tampa with Karen Lowman, a member of the TBT Leadership Team, and Karen’s wife, Mandy O’Neil. “She was like family,” the two women remark. “She had an emotional impact and shared a lot of wisdom and stories,” says Mandy, adding “Marie was adventurous. I loved hearing stories about her rebel days growing up. She had a remarkably positive outlook on life even during the most difficult stretches of her health challenges. She always focused on perseverance.”
Marie’s efforts improved the lives of people in her orbit as she worked to create a safety net for some of the most vulnerable in our local communities. She acted on behalf of the greater good.
“Marie was fearless and liked to shed light on the darkest places; this was symbolic of her work with the Tampa Bay Timebank,” says Karen. “She was always patient and extremely diplomatic. She had a go-with-the-flow attitude. Marie truly loved groups and supporting an alternative economy, especially for aging populations whose physical abilities change over time,” Karen says.
A Laser Beam with Language
Marie’s love of language came as no surprise to anyone who knew her. She earned a Ph.D in Language Education and an M.Ed. in English Education from the University of Georgia. She studied French Literature at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. where she earned a Bachelor of Arts; she was also Emeritus Professor of Integrated Studies at National Louis University, Chicago, IL. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she taught English in Japan.
“Marie was always concerned about very specific words, their precise meaning, and how they sounded together to be sure a message was relayed absolutely perfectly,” B.J. recalls. “I remember spending hours with her to help create key documents for the Tampa Bay Timebank. She cared so deeply about people and about the message she had to share.”
From community activists and documentary film makers, to students and professionals, Marie loved and mentored many people across her nearly eight decades of life. For those who worked alongside her and became her dearest, closest friends, Marie’s death is a profound loss—even as she leaves behind a legacy of service and the results of her commitment to make the world a better place than the one she found.
Marie is survived by her daughter Naomi Nelson of Gainesville, FL, her son, Joshua Nelson of Beaufort, S.C., and a grandson, Elijah Nelson-Ehrsam of Gainesville, FL.
This Saturday, January 30, 2021, interested friends are invited to an outdoor memorial for Marie at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, FL, by/around Shelter 7. Wearing masks and observing all social distancing recommendations, we will gather to celebrate Marie’s remarkable life. Plan to bring a chair and share a vegan potluck dish with a description of ingredients for those with dietary/allergen-related restrictions.
|Event: Outdoor Celebration of Life for Marie Nelson|
|Day: Saturday, January 30, 2021|
|Location: Philippe Park, Safety Harbor, FL, near Shelter 7|
|Time: 11 AM to 1 PM EST|
|Questions: Contact TBT Coordinator Rita Cobbs at 608.335.2382|
TBT will also hold a Celebration of Life for Marie via Zoom at its Third Tuesday meeting on February 16 at 6:30 PM EST. The Celebration will be facilitated by Karen Lowman with participants invited to speak for three to five minutes each to give all guests an opportunity to express their love and appreciation for our founder. Tampa Life Enrichment Center Executive Director and community partner Maureen Murphy is assembling a presentation to commemorate Marie’s life to be shared with Zoom participants.
|Event: Zoom Memorial for Marie Nelson|
|Day: Tuesday, February 16, 2021|
|Time: 6:30 to 9 PM EST|
|Questions: Contact TBT Coordinator Rita Cobbs at 608.335.2382|
We’re starting a TBT book group with a focus on art in all its forms! The inaugural read: On Photography by Susan Sontag first published in 1973 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The group is open to our sister (and bro) timebanks and the community. Of course, to be Covid-compliant, we’re convening by Zoom. Here’s how it’s rolling:
- First Zoom gathering is Monday, December 7, 2020 at 7 PM;
- We’ll meet every two weeks to nosh on the text and partake of participants’ thoughts and dialogue;
- (Because the next two-week interval lands during Xmas week, we’ll step out of the two-week rhythm just until the New Year and start again on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7 PM);
- Those interested should contact me at email@example.com or 215.834.4567 so I can collect names and email addresses to send a Zoom link the day before each meeting time…
- Group members will pitch ideas for the next book and we’ll take an informal vote on what to read next!
By Grace Maselli
The Tampa Bay Timebank took on the subject of grief and loss in its Third Tuesday of the Month member and guest meeting on Tuesday, October 20. Psychotherapy and hospice-trained experts from the TBT leadership team—Nancy Wolf, Christina Bellamy, and Judith Rose—guided about 25 participants in a Zoom meeting to recognize and honor the various faces of grief. The tender examination of loss and its effects included disruption to mourning by Covid-19 and people forced to be separated from loved ones infected or killed by the virus. Grief was discussed in the context of the profoundly unsettling absence through death of someone loved and the painful adaptations necessary before adjustments can be fully integrated.
Giants in the field of grief and loss were invoked: psychiatrist, humanitarian, and hospice pioneer Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of non-linear grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance, and leading death educator and grief counselor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt at The Center for Loss & Life Transition.
Grief can cause a broad range of symptoms both emotional and physical, TBT’s presenters reminded us—from forgetfulness and detachment to everyday life, to fatigue and chest pains.
The discussion, inclusive of a small group Zoom breakout session, extended to the significance of rituals and their power to comfort people in deep emotional pain. Even within the context of Covid, family members, friends, and neighbors can reach out, safely drop food off for grieving families, and be present to another person’s pain with attentive, compassionate listening. Rituals can demonstrate that even in active mourning, we can still be surrounded and cared for by people who remain in our lives. With presenters drawing on Dr. Wolfelt’s work, we understand this can arguably happen (even now using masks and social distancing) through “companioning” with a person who has experienced a loss, being present to another person’s pain—going into the deep wilderness of the soul with another human being—and honoring the spirit, not the intellect.
Grief and its stages, our TBT experts offered, are ultimately a natural and adaptive response to deep loss. The experience is singular and personal and does not follow a prescribed path to reach a given level of adaptation.
The presenters also shared community resources. Following is a partial list of Tampa Bay Area organizations available to assist individuals and families:
- The Life Center of The Suncoast Inc.
6811 N Central Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
- Compassionate Friends
6938 Riverview Dr, Riverview, FL 33578
- Unity North Tampa [First Sunday of the month, 12:30-2:30; donations accepted]
19520 Holly Ln, Lutz, FL 33558
- Soaring Spirits International, Tampa Bay Widowed Persons Group
By Grace Maselli
Invoking the recent words of former President Barack Obama to high schoolers and 2020 college grads, “If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.” Or in the case of our Florida Timebanks, which have always been about inclusivity and valuing all members of our society, it’s up to the collective community energy—the social adhesive and grassroots mobilization we strengthen and invigorate together—that can make a positive difference. And a critical and encompassing change in our neighborhoods and localities, particularly given the intense negative effects of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable populations.
TBT and its nearby timebank partners are forging organizational connections with groups dedicated to helping the Tampa Bay Area’s refugee populations; to reinforce the local social safety net, we’re taking citizen action for emergency responses and aiming to help expand refugee support programs. The locus of initial activity will begin around Tampa’s University of South Florida and Temple Terrace neighborhoods where concentrations of Congolese and Arabic-speaking refugee families live.
Organizational partners have joined TBT and surrounding timebanks to participate in the exchange “system” that uses time as its currency instead of money—welcoming refugee families to exchange “person hours.” Individuals and family members who sign up to do the things they love for other members, offering what they enjoy in a service exchange where every hour of time is equally valued.
To make it happen TBT is working closely with Tampa’s Radiant Hands, Inc. whose mission is to “empower women and families in the North-Central Florida region by providing them with spiritual, emotional, educational, and financial support with the goal of helping them to achieve independence in mind. In doing so, we hope to encourage and enable women and families to contribute individually and collectively in strengthening our community as a whole.”
Like Radiant Hands, we’re also collaborating with new organizational member Ramwi Refugee and Migrant Women’s Initiative, Inc. Based in Tampa, Ramwi (pronounced ram-wee) places emphasis on support with the potential to blossom into self-actualization that can come with being an independent and much-valued community member: “Our mission is to bring newly arrived refugee, migrant and other vulnerable women, children and their families residing in Tampa Bay together. Doing so, we hope to empower, engage, and support them during the difficult phases of resettlement and transition.”
Volunteers to Deliver Much-Needed Food
The unfolding community work means there’s an opportunity for timebank volunteers to help deliver food in the USF area and to donate storage space for canned food. Also in the planning phase for timebank exchanges:
• A community garden
• Help with Radiant Hands’ and Ramwi’s Thanksgiving dinner
• Mask sewing for healthcare workers in need of Personal Protective Equipment
Many of Ramwi’s female program participants will graduate from sewing classes and be given a sewing machine of their own. The graduate “collective” is talking about potential plans to sell the things they make, including possible wedding guest favors. But of course we’re all open to all kinds of creative ideas for goods that can be handmade and brought to market.
No pairing of timebanks and community stakeholders dedicated to serving refugees could fit the Tampa Bay Timebank mission and revitalization efforts with more symmetry than the work now underway with Radiant Hands and Ramwi. Increases in our 550+ membership is a telltale sign of interest as more organizational leaders and families join, welcoming all who come to our city and its surrounding area.
For donations, to volunteer for food delivery and storage, and ideas to share, contact TBT Coordinator Rita at 608.335.22382 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Grace Maselli
Today’s the day. Started in 1970, the global Earth Day event to honor environmental protection and the miracle of our abundant planet involves 193 countries worldwide. A lot has changed since 1970 and the inaugural Earth Day when Richard Nixon was at the helm of the U.S. government (and the year he created the Environmental Protection Agency). To put it in terms NPR’s using, “Earth Day at 50: Climate Activists Go Digital Amid Pandemic Shutdown”—the celebration and activism are forging ahead despite the effects of COVID-19.
A stunning “It Can Be Done” Earth Day message also honors Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was also Research Director at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the UK’s University of Cambridge. Hawking reminds viewers to take protective action in the precious time that remains. But you don’t need to be a theoretical physicist to make difference.
Teen Vogue prompts us to remember we can all become catalysts for positive change right here in our own Tampa Bay Area backyard. Take the lead from our youth and do some simple stuff: plant something, ride your bike, buy reusable bags, stop subscriptions to paper-made catalogs. And Tune into Earth Day Live for inspiration and emphasis on small steps with the power to add up to meaningful environmental impact.
In the renowned words of Rachael Carson, an American biologist who drove awareness of the dangers of pesticides and author of Silent Spring, a powerful book that influenced the environmental movement in the U.S.: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
By Grace Maselli
You are what you eat, yes? The idea is in the air and in the research, part of the cultural zeitgeist. (If you want to be healthy, live disease-free, manage symptoms, and stay sharp, the fuel you put into your body matters.) The importance of food choices is top of mind for the Tampa Bay Timebank; we’re hosting a nutrition class the first Thursday of every month at Tampa’s Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
The invaluable Nutrition and Wellness class is taught by member Heather Murray, RN and Licensed Massage Therapist who’s also a Certified Level 1 practitioner in Food Healing.
Every first Thursday Heather shares helpful resources like one of her go-to books, Conquering Any Disease, The Ultimate High-Phytochemical Food-Healing System by Jeff Primack, complete with real-life case studies of healing to inspire behavioral shifts and a strong dose of hope. Members receive timebank credits for attending. Got questions? Want the low-down on phytochemicals? Come to class! Reach Heather or TBT Coordinator Rita Cobbs at 608.335.2382. Check out the pic of below of this month’s inaugural class meeting.
By Grace Maselli
Check this out from the History Channel: “While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial—which probably occurred around A.D. 270—others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.”
So, in honor of paganalia and crop production, they’re’ll be a TBT Valentine’s Potluck on Sunday, February 16 from 3 to 6 PM. Wear your heart on your sleeve or on a special V-Day T-shirt! Bring your So-Easy Coq au Vin to share or other Vintage Valentine’s Day classics: Salmon Mousse Canapes, Baked Oysters with Tasso Cream (whatever Tasso Cream is), Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing, or luscious Fudge Tort. Or if it’s easier, bring Mac ‘n Cheese and black olives on all of your fingers and thumbs. They’ll go well with the paper plates and plasticware.
And while it’s true that the potluckaroo is five weeks and five days away from this writing, time flies. So mark your calendar for some conviviality and the making of a holiday in your image of what it means! Bring your favorite love poem or ballad to read aloud. Bring a haiku or an ode. A quatrain or free verse. We’re open to Roman gods, creative expression, and food.
|Date||Sunday, February 16, 2019|
|Time||3 to 6 PM|
|Address||2128 Park Crescent Drive
Land O Lakes, FL 34639
|Questions?||Contact Grace at (215) 834.4567 and reference the Valentine’s Potluck
By Grace Maselli
The Tampa Bay Timebank Leadership Team has been as busy as 80,000 honey bees in a colony. No kidding. They’ve been envisioning, planning, writing, and doing—all along the way sweetening the connections between and among our 549 members. This includes a focus on areas of expansion.
This unfolding expansion, dear member, is where you can earn TBT hours for your activities—and exchanges—with fellow members by moving as the bees do: productively (and “in the context of ‘electric fields’!” It’s all true!).
Our all-volunteer org means no paid staff or central office. No Gal Friday. What we do have: several coordinators managing the website and handling organizational planning. All other activity is generated by you, valued member, for members. And because we charge no fees, TBT relies on volunteer energy and donations whenever materials or cash are inevitably required.
What follows are some significant areas of interest that TBT would like to expand to meet organizational need. Some categories are only bubbling ideas at the present moment—or, significantly, they’re being handled by just one person.
So here’s the thing, if you’d like to get involved, don’t hesitate. Be like the bee and getta move on with another person or small group. Jump into something that maps to your passion or skills or both. We’re all ears and also open to hearing suggestions that may not be on this list. So please let us know what strikes your fancy and we’ll attempt to make it happen.
In the mean time, take a look through our Action Groups list and each category’s quick description to see what you think. To get things rolling or ask questions, contact email@example.com.
- Administration Action Group
Handles administrative necessities including paperwork and phone calls.
- Community and Group Projects Action Group
Engages in community service.
• Co-Production Action Group
Helps other organizations with their projects.
• Education Action Group
Either attends or offers educational workshops.
- Emergency Services Action Group
Volunteers to help in an emergency. Those with medical credentials can use them. Others may offer transportation, phone contacts, or general support. We’d like people to join in various geo areas so we always have people nearby to call.
- Entertainment Action Group
Selects fun things to do for members and schedules open social events. It is a good way to get to know other members before making exchanges.
- Events Action Group
Puts on events around the area, such as Gathering with a Purpose and Introductory events. Support staff is always needed.
- Field Trips and Travel Group
Plans trips and tours around town.
- Marketing Group
Handles TBT marketing and advertising.
- Membership Action Group
Keeps in regular contact with members.
- Monthly Program Gatherings Action Group
Designs monthly programs held at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center. Support is always helpful. Participants arrange speakers, food, transportation, and communications.
- Orientation Group
A trained group of people to help new members get acquainted with the website and members.
- Social Adventures Action Group
Selects fun things to do for members and schedules open social events and tours, for example. It is a good way to get to know other members before making exchanges.
- Social Justice Action Group
Involvement in specific social justice action-oriented projects.
- Social Media Group
Manages the Facebook group and other social media activities and announcements.
- Speakers Group
Makes presentations to various organizations about timebanking.
- Spiritual Study Group
People interested in metaphysics and spirituality who attend various local study groups and events.
- Technology Group
Helps with all the TBT technical requirements, including computer repair, setting up equipment for events, finding necessary equipment and connections for various media purposes, providing software assistance, photography, film-making, and more.
- Trainers Action Group
Trained trainers who carry out various programs such as formal orientations, introductory workshops, Gathering with a Purpose workshops etc.
- Transportation Group
Helps people who cannot drive to attend TBT events and sometimes arranges for personal travel needs.
- Welcome New Members Action Group
As the name implies, members of this group welcome new members via phone calls and small get-togethers to help new members become oriented and connected with existing members. Group members also help to facilitate new exchanges.
Readers can also support our Florida timebanks by donating equipment and supplies and cash for needed items. Among our ongoing requirements: supplies for potlucks and events, (think, paper plates, utensils, napkins, paper towels, pens, paper, name tags, office supplies, color printing, and bottled water). You get the idea! If you have things lying around that you don’t need and that you think TBT could use, please let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re eternally grateful!