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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.

— “With today’s economy, we need a complimentary currency for people to put faith in,” he said.

Jones feels many involved in creating the country’s economy have forgotten about the humanity behind the dollar signs and thinks if people spend their own time helping others, it will everyone grow respect for one another.

Jones’ group has 40 members, but for the concept to work most efficiently a larger pool of talents is needed. Jones is now concentrating his recruiting in the Albany area, but encourages anyone within the greater Capital District to join.

Members can seek services like help around the home or within the community, transportation to appointments or business assistance. Others can offer to teach classes on their favorite hobbies, give tutoring lessons or provide animal care.

Rossier herself has used the group to find babysitters, get help with organizing and painting her house and has taken several yoga classes for free. In return, she has done things like given people rides to the train station and taught a class on soap making.

“I’m a single mom, so right now I’m in need of more help than others in terms of their life stage,” she said. “(Time sharing) values all work, even that which the community may have considered volunteer or looked down upon in the past.”

Jones said one local exchange within his group involved a member from Schenectady helping members from Greenwich baling hay on their farm. Other suggestions include helping someone move, caring for the elderly or volunteering with local charities. Any time spent helping the community can be “bankable.”

Each person keeps track of the “time” they have given or used through their bank account, as the program relies heavily through the honor system, said Jones. But disputes or complaints can be taken up with the administrator of each organization’s website so as to prevent unfairly using time members didn’t earn.

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