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Monday, September 24, 2012

Time is money...New kind of currency coming to the community

by Kiersten Throndsen, KOMO Communities Reporter

This Thursday, Mercer Island will launch the community's very first timebank.
Organizers have been looking at the concept of timebanking for several months now as a way to share skills among neighbors. Cindy Goodwin, director of Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS), says after hearing from a number of residents and receiving a large donation for initial set up costs it's finally time to make it happen.
"People of all income levels have time to give," she said.
Goodwin says a number of cities throughout the nation have used timebanks as a way to trade skills, get projects done, and help others without having to pay for services rendered. The payoff in this case is simply just donated time - you help me for an hour, I will help you or someone else in need for an hour.
"MIYFS got involved because we were really concerned about people struggling during these economic times. We know they have skills, they can tutor, walk dogs, there are a lot of things people can do that allow them to participate in a barter economy and still get their needs met," she said.
Mercer Island will run their bank through the Eastside Timebank. Goodwin says the Eastside Timebank has the infrastructure, coordination and experience needed to help MI get their pilot project off the ground successfully.
On Thursday, the community is invited to a dessert potluck to learn more about the timebank and to start signing up.
Goodwin says there will be a small set up fee which goes to run background checks on applicants. She says the hope is to also establish a scholarship fund for those who cannot afford to sign up but want to be able to participate.
"Reception has been really positive, you would be surprised how many people are warm to the idea. I think people are wondering ‘What can I do?’" said Goodwin.
MIYFS worked with community group, Transition Initiative Mercer Island (TIMI), to create the foundation for Mercer Island's first timebank.
The potluck starts at 7:00p.m. at the community and events center.
NOTE: Mercer Island is in Washington, USA.


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