Did you know that our North Fork Valley has its very own Time Bank? Founded just over year ago in February 2014, the North Fork Time Bank has attracted over forty members since its inception.
What is a time bank? A Time Bank is a tool for building community and giving and receiving services and support without the use of money. It is an organized way to “pay-it-forward.” While TimeBanking was created over thirty years ago, it is a new concept to many of us. Thanks to some of our bright neighbors who brought it here, the North Fork Valley is now a national pioneer in Time Banking. You can learn more about the growing national timebanking movement on the TimeBankUSA website.
How does it work? The Time Bank is run through a website similar to Craiglist, but without exchanging money and with some nifty applications specialized for timebanks. The North Fork Time Bank website is powered by “HourWorld”, free timebank software that was specially designed to serve time banks all over the world. On the website, “givers” and “receivers” connect to exchange services. For every hour you invest doing work for someone via the TimeBank, you receive an hour that you can spend on any service offered via the TimeBank (not just with the person to whom you provided the service).
On the surface this premise seems simple, but when looked at more deeply, timebanking offers new ways of thinking about time, wealth and community.
What do people use it for? Giving and receiving all types of services. Here’s an example. Imagine…Your car is making hideous noises and you’re not sure why. You search on the TimeBank website and find an Auto Mechanic named Tom who lives in town. You message Tom through the Time Bank website to request an hour of his time to take a look at your car and diagnose the problem. Tom comes over the next day and fixes it in a jiffy (your chain belt was falling off!). After he leaves, you go on the TimeBank website and “bank”(credit) him 1 hour for his time. In exchange for his time, Tom now has an hour that he can use later to receive a service he needs. A few weeks later, Tom spends his 1 hour credit to receive a haircut from Linda who a salon in her house in town. Your car is fixed and Tom’s hair is looking snazzy. Not a dollar spent, and you now have a new friendly acquaintance in town.
How does it work here in the North Fork?
The North Fork Time Bank was initially founded in partnership with the Time Bank of the Rockies based in Montrose, Colorado. A significant limitation of this partnership was that both Montrose and North Fork Members were sharing the same website forum. Montrose had significantly more Members than the North Fork. As a result, North Fork Members we having to wade through piles of requests and offers from people who live over an hour way. It became unmanagable for most North Fork Members to participate.
The good news: As of last month this problem has been fixed. The North Fork now has its very own new shiny Time Bank, reserved only for people who live in the Valley!
How do I join? The Time Bank is entirely free to join. Visit the North Fork Time Bank website to learn more and sign up, and then be sure to cruise over to the Facebook page to “like” and spread the word to neighbors.
Stay tuned! The Hive will host a time Bank Reboot kickoff party later this year.
*Note: If you already were a North Fork Valley member of the Time Bank of the Rockies, you may log on to your account with the new North Fork Time Bank by visiting www.northforktimebank.org, and clicking on the “My Account” tab.