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Timebanks deal in unique currency

Capital District groups see members exchanging skills, time with one another

At a skill share program held in May by the Troy Shares organization, carpenter and group member Kirk Jalbert shows Simon Burke-Lipiczky how to repair a toddler’s bicycle.

At a skill share program held in May by the Troy Shares organization, carpenter and group member Kirk Jalbert shows Simon Burke-Lipiczky how to repair a toddler’s bicycle.

— When the economy began to go south in 2008, Emily Rossier started to think about the meaning of money.

“A definition I came across had to do with linking human resources with human needs and I thought, why couldn’t we do something like that?” said the Troy resident.

She soon started researching the international phenomenon of Timebanks, a type of time sharing. The movement is meant to “promote equality and build caring community economies through inclusive exchange of time and talent,” according to the TimeBank USA website, and with the Internet as a tool, it’s an idea that’s picking up momentum locally.

In 2010, Rossier and a few others started putting that system into practice with their own software database, calling themselves Troy Shares. The group was formed and launched in just six months, and now has more that 150 members.

People from all over the Capital District have joined, but the majority of members live within Rensselaer County. The concept of a TimeBank is to use time as a form of currency. Members offer their talents to other members and their time spent helping out is then “banked” within their account. They can then used the banked time to seek the services of other members.

“There’s no reason work should stop in a community if there is a lack of the U.S. dollar,” said Rossier.

Kevin Jones has similar beliefs. Unable to work after a motorcycle accident left him disabled in 1991, the New Salem resident said he began to feel inadequate and wanted to do something to help the community using the talents he still had. He also needed help himself with several tasks, but didn’t have the money he needed.

After watching several videos about Timebanks on Youtube, he started the first TimeBank USA chapter in the Capital District.

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