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Time as money

"Time as money" Continued...

Issue: "Libyan exodus," March 26, 2011

Beata Alghabra has been a member of the Lathrup Village TimeBank since 2008. She offers Arabic cooking classes to members. In return, she uses the services of an elderly member who hems her sons' pants. She said her two sons, who were upstairs decorating cookies, would otherwise be home watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. Instead, through the TimeBank, "They've become involved in the community and have met a lot of amazing people."

Many people are reluctant to ask for help, but TimeBanks help overcome that resistance because they emphasize (as Partners in Care in Maryland explains) "parity, not charity. . . . People earn the help they need by participating." Those with credits in the bank use them.

Hodge has now founded the Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks. She works with volunteers from 18 communities, most of whom have never started an organization of any kind. She meets once a month with the group, helping them go through the basic steps: setting up a steering committee (in TimeBank lingo, a Kitchen Cabinet), developing mission and vision, deciding about dues and liability issues, and setting geographical boundaries.

Phyllis Edwards of Bridging Communities compares her life now to what it was: "We hired services to do everything. We didn't have to know our neighbors. To know your neighbor, to know your community, that's priceless."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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