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THE TALENTS OF TIMEBANKERS

The TimeBank is a repository of talent. Example: TimeBanker Jec Ballou is a lifelong equestrian originally from the East Coast who prioritizes helping horses move and perform better through correct physical conditioning. She has authored three training books, teaches widely in the U.S., and remains grateful for every day with horses. She believes the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a human.

She’s hosting An Autumn Afternoon with Horses for TimeBankers and prospective TimeBankers at her stables in Corralitos on Saturday, November 4.

It’s an opportunity to brush horses and feed carrots. There will be pony rides for the children and a mini demo on using your personal body language to communicate and interact with horses.

The farm is a private and peaceful spot. Are you drawn to TimeBanking? You’re encouraged to come enjoy the setting, take a stroll, sit on hay bales and just chat if not particularly interested in the horse aspect of this gathering.

WHY WE HAVE AN ELDERHANDS PROGRAM

Because a tsunami of aging is about to hit our shores. Because elder orphans are vulnerable. Because we want to be part of the solution.

We’re looking for Santa Cruz County residents willing to help their elderly neighbors with minor home repairs, light chores and errands, pet care, tech support and rides to appointments. We ask that you be available three hours per month. These Providers earn TimeCredits for the services they provide. TimeCredits can be spent on any service in the TimeBank.

We’re also seeking elderly residents who would like a neighborly helping hand to rely on. Recipients in their 80s and 90s would receive services from TimeBankers with no obligation to provide services in return. Younger elders would be asked to offer some simple service to others, if possible. All recipients are asked to pay a $25 to $50 sliding scale yearly enrollment fee to receive services.

Our goal is to foster social relationships that relieve isolation and the stress of unmet needs. Relationships of trust help elders age in place successfully.

COMMUNITY WEAVER

A lot gets done in a TimeBank. Look what TBers did in one ten-day period in August: Replaced a garage-mounted exterior light. Took an elder to a surgery appointment. Hosted a social get together for 20 people. Installed two outdoor walkway lights. Inspected a broken pull-down attic stairway. Ran a downtown errand for an East Sider. Worked at the Restore. Helped plan and execute a yard sale. Gave bodywork mini-sessions at a gathering. Restored a rusted bike chain, trued a rear wheel and lubed various bike components. Ran an errand for a car-less elder. Gave an outreach presentation to IHSS staff. Bought and delivered cat litter and visited a home-bound elder. Gave a haircut. Posted flyers for an Adult Equestrian Camp event. Pruned a peach tree. Picked and donated nectarines to the TimeBank’s FarmStand.

(What could you do for others? Come on. We know you want to help.)

What gets done in a TimeBank are the tasks of ordinary life. It used to be that such work was commonly shared in communities, neighborhoods. Our modern life has frayed these connections and it is the purpose of a TimeBank to re-weave them. How are we doing so far? 

MEET US AT DHARMA’S THIS SUNDAY

Come have lunch with some TimeBankers this Sunday, August 20 at noon at Dharma’s, 4250 Capitola Road. Everyone is invited to attend a luncheon with TimeBank members to expand your network, chat about skill swaps, and plan projects. Lunch is your cost.

TimeBank Santa Cruz resists. We contend that the more we help each other, the more resilient our local community becomes. Each act of generosity, each kindness counters whatever forces would weaken our commitment to each other, to a just society.

It’s a quiet resistance. It’s not front page news. It doesn’t count as in-your-face direct action. But it qualifies as resistance because it creates social capital which we can draw on when needs arise.

I call timebanking Slow Currency. It’s like Slow Food and Slow Money. It takes time to timebank just as it takes time to have a friend.

Yes, a lot of practical tasks and chores and errands get done in a TimeBank. But our stealth reason for existing lies beyond the task. It’s the relationships of trust that get created that constitute the social capital.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD TIMEBANKER

We’re almost six years into the TimeBank Santa Cruz experience. As a founding member, I’m just starting this blog as an outreach strategy. There’s certainly lots of blog fodder to sift through.

Let’s start with the qualities of a good TBer. The bottom line, of course, is participation. But that’s a pretty low bar, like saying we’ll take you as a member if you’re still breathing and can look reasonably alert from time to time. We say we look for ‘resourceful folks with practical skills to share’. We say, anyone willing to maintain a high level of trust is invited to join. That’s narrowing the field a bit, no?

Anyone want to translate that italicized sentence for me? It’s code, ya know.

Our goal is to create a network of people who are available, responsive and responsible to each other. That’s getting more specific. Basically, are you willing to be there for your fellow TBers? That is the real bottom line.

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