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Gospel Mission Time Bank

It Takes A Village!

Recall the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

We ignore this ancient truth only at our peril and the peril of our children and their future.

What does it take for children to grow into youth ready for life and succeed in school?

  • For youth to be healthy and practice healthy behaviors?
  • For youth to engage in meaningful activities as they become young adults?
  • to mature into living in healthy, stable and supportive families?
  • in short, to make successful transition into adulthood?

Yes, it takes a village!

It takes a village – because raising and nurturing youth is a community affair.

But, the challenges do not end with children and youth!

What does it take for elders to have meaningful life and be useful in their senior years?

  • for elders to be healthy and practice healthy behaviors?
  • For elders to engage in meaningful activities as they age?
  • to experience their senior years in healthy, stable, supportive relationships?
  • to have access to and be part of a caring community?
  • in short, to be accepted, integrated and age well in place as possible?

Yes, this too takes a village!

It takes a village – caring and involving seniors as valued persons is a community affair.

It is not only the ends of the age spectrum that needs a village.

People of all ages need to be actively involved in community.

This is important for well-being, for physical, social and emotional health.

What does it take to

  • to raise families and balance the demands of work and adulthood?
  • to be role models for youth and caretakers for elderly?
  • to find time for self-fulfillment, enrichment and growth?
  • to find time for love, friendship and proactive leisure?
  • n short, to have a joy while fulfilling life’s roles and requirements?

Yes, this too takes a village!

It takes a village – adults having meaningful roles and relationships is a community affair.

Yes, we agree ... it takes a village.

Yet, the further challenge is, ‘What does it take to build a village?

The challenge of building a village calls for us to revitalize the sense of village where we live.

TimeBanking builds relationships of support, caring and trust, the heart of a village.

In this way, TimeBanking helps build a village.

TimeBanking helps build community-based and community-owned systems, approaches and activities that ensure success for committed youth, adults and elders – regardless of age and mindful of the importance of relationships for everyone.

TimeBanking will build and sustain the village in your community!

 Each Time Bank is Unique

Timebanking organizes ways to value the work we do for others in our community and the work we do in building that community.

Instead of going without things because we cannot afford to pay for with money,

TimeBank members use time and services represented in the form of Time Dollars.

TimeBanking matches available skills-time-services to unmet needs.

Often, the members of the TimeBank discover that skills and talents they believed no-one else would value are instead valued by others. For many, there is a process of “learning how to ask.” We have been conditioned to believe that independence is good, and also that giving is good – but that asking for help represents weakness, or puts us “one down.”

TimeBank members learn differently as they create their circles of giving and receiving. They learn by doing, and as they do, the “ties that bind” in community grow over time. This can take place at different levels: personal, group, organizational and community.

Specific exchanges make each TimeBank unique.

Every unmet need (at personal, group and community levels) and every untapped skill (at personal, group and community levels) can become a starting point for TimeBanking activities.

Matching of unmet needs (demands) with untapped skills (skills) becomes the framework of opportunities that can be used to create a Time Bank.

  • Persons may be interested because they have (or they see) unmet needs
  • Persons may be interested because they have (or they see) untapped skills and time.
  • Groups may be interested because they have (or they see) unmet needs.
  • Groups may be interested because they have (or they see) untapped skills and time.
  • Communities may be interested because they have (or they see) unmet needs.
  • Communities may be interested because they have or see untapped skills and time.

Looking for starting points is one of the important challenges in starting a TimeBank. It can also be fun!

The goal is to find, discover, and create opportunities for TimeBank members to give and receive. Keep looking for opportunities. Keep a log of ideas and share them with others for mutual inspiration. Whenever you hear an individual or a group or an association say they need something, write it down! Then look at all the things they might possibly give others. You may have to dig.

You will find yourself getting into conversations and discussions about possibilities. You will also find that some people have a natural knack for seeing unmet needs and unused capacities all around them. Those people are often good at seeing “win-win” possibilities.

Do not be surprised if this is not easy for you at first. For many, this ability to see opportunities for creating circles of giving and receiving comes only with practice. Often, TimeBanks will start quite slowly as members feel their way into this new way of doing things– but over time, the pace picks up as the members “get it” and they start to find more and more possibilities all around them.

Here are some possibilities to look out for:

Under-used community facilities. Charging Time Dollars for admission is transforming underused buildings. For every hour people invest in their local community, they receive access to an hour of social, education or cultural activity. Membership rises and the number of service hours contributed to mutual aid and community support.

Getting further with volunteering. TimeBanking, alongside conventional volunteering attracts people who would not previously thought of volunteering. TimeBanking introduces reciprocity to volunteering and gets away from one-way acts of charity which may tend to create dependency.

Helping with community business. Meals paid for in Time Dollars, for just one day a week, ensure a healthy supply of persons to prepare, serve and clean up in the TimeBank community café. This makes it more financially viable and turns a well-meaning enterprise into a sustainable ‘extended family’ business.

Youth affairs. TimeBanking challenges youth to take on more responsibility and run their community initiatives and events. Youth workers are encouraged to move from being ‘entertainers’ and being entertained to being facilitators and providers of services such as driving lessons, tutoring, trips, equipment, etc.

Family sharing. TimeBanking encourages formation of family sharing circles, much like baby-sitting circles, that share a wide range of skills and draw on the parenting experience of older people in the neighborhood. Sharing the responsibility of raising healthy children – it takes a village to raise a child.

Senior benefits. TimeBanking encourages members to stay active and outward-looking, thus helping seniors keep healthy, overcome depression and counter isolation. Baby boomers are a resource with vested interests, caring duties of their own and time to give. Often seen as a kind of insurance policy, seniors put in hours now giving support to others and will use time credits to receive social care they need in return or in the future.

Community events. The TimeBank provides an organizing base, workers and participants for community events. In this way, celebrations as well as catastrophes are opportunities that bring communities together for their common good.

TimeBanks evolve because the circles of giving and receiving tend to replicate and expand to be more andmore inclusive and more and more proactive in meeting personal and community needs.

Wherever you are on your journey, wherever your community is on its journey, we encourage you to explore TimeBanking.

Because of its vitality, versatility and value, we believe that TimeBanking is opportune now!

As budgets shrink and expenses grow, there are increasing opportunities and demands to use the many wonderful skills and assets of residents and communities to help each other match unmet (or under-met) needs with unused (or under-used) resources.

Everyone has talents and skills that someone else will value and use.

By sharing them, we help each other, and we can create community and social well-being, one hour at a time

Time banking can help people with services they may have to otherwise forego, to expand relationships and create new friendships, and to develop new habits as consumers and community members.

TimeBank members help and empower each other, share and expand the wealth of resources in their community, and by revitalize community by creating networks of reciprocity, respect and trust.

Courtesy of Merlyn Kettering