The Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank started last August. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about our TimeBank.
Q. What is TimeBanking all about?
A. At its most basic level, TimeBanking is a community of people who support each other. It promotes a community of caring by a sharing of time and talents. For spending an hour doing something for someone in the community, you earn a one-hour time credit. Then you can use that time credit to buy an hour of another member’s time and it doesn’t need to be from the same person. Our TimeBank website handles all the connections and transactions.
Q. Give an example of how it might work.
A. Janet needs a ride to the airport and posts the request on the Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank (TB) web page. Maryanne is free at that time and contacts Janet to say she can give her the ride. It takes 1 hour to pick Janet up, drop her off at the airport and return home. Maryanne posts a one-hour time credit on the TB web site for providing the ride and Janet’s time credits are reduced by one hour. The next week, Maryanne, who cannot sew, needs some new slacks hemmed because they are too long and posts the request on the TB web site. Robert sees the request and agrees to make the adjustments. It takes Robert an hour to do the job. He posts one hour to his account on the TB web page and Maryanne’s account is reduced by an hour. Robert needs some help picking up sticks in the yard that have accumulated over the winter. He turns to the TB for that help, etc.
Q. So, the TB helps connect people with needs to those who can help them? Are there any other benefits of the TB?
A. A very important reason for the TimeBank is that it helps build stronger communities, where people help each other and in so doing get to meet people they never would otherwise have gotten to know. Most exchanges are between people of different generations and different neighborhoods. It helps people feel good about where they live and feel that they can ask for assistance when they need it, because they have done the same thing for others.
Q. Who can join the Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank?
A. The TimeBank is open to residents who live in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District (Swarthmore, Rutledge, Wallingford and Rose Valley). Teens 14-17 years of age may join on their own if their parents sign a permission slip. Those younger than 14 can volunteer through a parent’s membership, but the parent must accompany the youth to the volunteer activity or meet the members with whom the child volunteers. Also, this is a good way for teens to meet their schools’ community service requirement. It is exciting to think about the rich array of talents within our community that could be exchanged through our TimeBank.
Q. Can I use the TimeBank if I don’t have a computer?
A. Yes! You can be set up with another member who will manage exchanges on your behalf and coordinate your participation. If you’d like help getting started, but do not have computer access please call Stephanie McDonough at 484-437-8272.
Q. What if I have a big job that needs lots of people to help?
A. Those are called “Mob Jobs”, kind of like an Amish barn raising, but not as big. Post the need for help on the web site and indicate how many people are needed and the time and place for the Mob Job. Interested members will contact you to let you know of their availability for the job, so you can plan for their arrival.
Q. Are members screened?
A. The TB web page does not require a member’s address or phone number to alleviate privacy concerns. Members should take all normal precautions before engaging with another member or giving out this information. Teens might want to initially limit volunteer activities to outdoor activities, volunteering with other teens (e.g. weeding, snow shoveling, etc.) until they get to know the person.
Q. Is there a minimum number of exchanges (either asking for help or providing help) that I have to do in a year to be a member?
A. Not at this time. However, for the TB to provide maximum community benefit, exchanges should be going on at a steady pace all the time. We recommend starting out with at least 3 exchanges the first year and to start as soon as you join by asking for assistance for something you need or have always wanted to do (learn bridge, help with weeding, etc.) or go on the web site and look at the offers of assistance made by members.
Q. Why was the Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank started?
A. Our TimeBank came out of a recommendation of the Aging in Place Taskforce (See: Recommendation 8 of the Report at https://www.swarthmorepa.org/DocumentCenter/View/391/2015-12-07_Aging-in-Place_Report .
Q. How do I join the TimeBank?
A. Go on the TimeBank web page at https://nether-swarthmore.timebanks.org to sign up and to schedule a one-hour orientation session. Attendance at the orientation session earns a one-hour time credit.
Q. What if I have other questions?
A. You can contact the TB Coordinator, Stephanie McDonough at NSTimeBank@gmail.com.