Volunteer ‘time bank’ to launch in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

Volunteer ‘time bank’ to launch in Carbondale

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A group of local citizens is launching a unique volunteer program focused on the concept of paying it forward, called time banking.

Participants in the program will be asked to perform a variety of services for other people around town in return for “time dollars.”

Under the program, one hour of service equals one “time dollar.”

“In an expanded method of bartering, participants bank their hours of service and can draw on them when they are in need of help,” organizers Gwen Garcelon explained in a press release.

The Carbondale Time Bank is being launched with a sign up session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Senior Matters Room at the Third Street Center, 520 S. 3rd St.

Garcelon said time banking is based in the belief that everyone has unique gifts, talents and resources to share, regardless of age or employment.

“By sharing talents, community is strengthened and everyone builds social value,” she said.

Former Carbondale trustee Russ Criswell is another of the Time Bank’s founders. He relates a conversation he had with a friend who lives in an area nursing home.

“He had a stroke at a young age and he was telling me that he had absolutely no value to the world,” Criswell said. “As I kept talking to him, I found out he has some computer skills and was able to help people set up a Wii and similar tasks.

“I realized that time banking would allow him to give as well as receive, and to be valued for his contribution,” Criswell said.

Among the services that can be offered by Time Bank members are child care, legal assistance, language lessons, home repair, respite care, account management, writing, office/business support, tutoring, yard work, driving instruction and delivery.

The time bank system was originally started by Edgar Cahn in 1980, which was another low point in the economy when there was a scarcity of social services, similar to today.

There are now time banks in 40 states and 15 countries, Garcelon said.

Each one is a local endeavor that is loosely joined to the others through a national organization that provides training, software, inspiration and serves as a forum for advice and support.

Time banking is founded on five principles:

• Everyone is an asset.

• Some work is beyond a monetary price.

• Reciprocity in helping.

• Social networks are necessary.

• Respect for all human beings.

Criswell added that the time is right and Carbondale is a good place to create a time banking system.

“It’s positive, it’s productive, it builds community,” he said. “The economy is shaky and people have the time to invest. It would help a lot of people. We’re a town that has been pretty good at creative solutions such as this.”

Monday’s meeting will include include introductions, information and idea sharing.

For information about the program, contact Russ Criswell at rcriswell@hotmail.com or Gwen Garcelon at gwen@highlifeunlimited.com.

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