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FALL TIMEBANK EXPO

The Fall TimeBank Expo is coming up next weekend. (It’s for TimeBankers and seriously prospective members.) We’ll have two Demo Stations. Station One: Salsa Dance. Kombucha. Advanced Directives. Bangs Trims. Personal Resilience Practices. Ingredients of Emergency Kits. Favorite Wellness Practices.

Station Two: Basics of Electrical Wiring. Reiki Treatments. Tool Sharpening. Publishing Your Book. Essential Life Questions. Sewing&Mending.

TimeBankers bring electrical cords and lamps and other broken items for repair. Knives, scissors, garden tools to sharpen. Clothes that need mending.

It’s a Skill Share, a Knowledge Commons and a Potluck. It’s a Reskilling Expo, really, but on a small scale and members only. Why? Because building new economic institutions requires a bit of commitment. It require reciprocity. And that’s what TimeBankers do: they reciprocate.

September 17, 2017

TWO WAY STREET

You know the 80/20 rule. It’s when 20 percent of the people are responsible for 80 percent of the work and giving. Ask yourself where you stand in this imbalance.  Ask yourself, are people are morally obliged to participate in civic society? Are you yourself obligated? I say, yes, you are. How about this: every morning when you get up, you ask yourself, what can I give today? What do I own that I can easily give away that will help someone immediately? Can I comfort someone today? Consider your waking hours. How many of them are spent pursuing your own self interest? Could you spend a half hour, an hour each day working in the interest of others?

Let’s say you agree to try. But your life is so busy and scattered and you have quite a few other obligations. How can you easily move toward participating authentically in civic society without disrupting your pretty nice life?

RESTOCKING THE SHELVES

The shelves of the TimeBank’s Community Cupboard are pretty bare right now. Who can help re-stock them? The Cupboard (at 1973 42nd Avenue) has gotten LOTS of use. What does that say about our society? We know we live in a high cost area. Do you personally know a lot of people who are just scraping by, paycheck to paycheck? I do.

The TimeBank put this resource up because one in five people in Santa Cruz County is food insecure. “Take what you need. Share what you can. We love reciprocity,” we say. Rules of Engagement: give stuff you would actually eat or use yourself. Donations of protein and all healthy stapes especially welcome. Soap, shampoo, any household basics also welcome.

Thanks to New Leaf Community Market for a $50 gift card and for continuing to donate a few items each week for this project.

Community Cupboard location: 1973 42nd Avenue. Overstock that won’t fit can be left on the porch. TimeBankers will stock the shelves as needed.

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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