One sunny summer afternoon, Ellie Kilner grabbed her sun hat, a paintbrush and got to work painting a sculpture that wasn’t hers. She did not invent the concept, the design or participate in the creation, but today she is part of the process.
Kilner was helping local artist, Beth Hartmann, put the finishing touches on her sculpture, “Support Person #1” under clear blue skies at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. The large work of art, which weighs around 400 pounds, is undoubtedly a massive work and, like most works of art, has an important message. But the purpose of this day was to share time with another neighbor brought together by the Sebastopol Area Time Bank.
“This is a real help-to-neighbours operation,” said David Gill, coordinator of the nonprofit Sevastopol Area Time Bank. “It works because we get to know each other through our talent and skill exchanges, but also through social gatherings and community projects throughout the year.”
Sebastopol Area Time Bank has enabled more than 250 members to accumulate “hours” by offering their personal services such as childcare, technical assistance, airport trips, gardening, car repair, and much more, then by exchanging their earned hours for the skills of other members.
An estate resolution consultant in his “real life,” Gill helps members solve mysteries involving their computers and accounting, while Kilner has expanded his help beyond painting sculptures.
“I’ve walked dogs, watered gardens and hosted members in my home,” she said. “In return, I received hours of computer support, I had a kitchen drain meandered, clothes mended, my hair cut and cookies baked.”
Much of the help offered is not necessarily redeemable for payment beyond the time bank network.
Working with three bankers, Deb Ward asked for help installing a gallery wall for her seascape artwork. First, she created templates on paper and they designed the layout. Then Thomas Westberg climbed a ladder, drilled the holes and hung the pictures.
Artist Hartmann set up his heavy columnar creation in the new Sculpture Garden at the Sevastopol Center for the Arts and it was there that Kilner put his painting skills to good use.
“A fellow SATB (Sebastopol Area Time Bank) member, Karen Felker, helped me apply cement and color in my garage,” Hartmann said. “Isn’t it amazing that members can call on so many talented people nearby to help them in such different areas?”
Hartmann was also able to do his part and pay it off.
“I helped a member knock down cabinets in her kitchen before a renovation and others visited our property to suggest plantings, and fabricated and applied critter screens under the house,” she said. declared.
The Sebastopol Area Time Bank was launched in 2019 and since then its members have accumulated over 8,000 hours of completed trades. Particularly during the worst of the COVID-19 shutdown, members stayed in touch on Zoom and held virtual classes, counseling, phone conversations, and contactless grocery and medical deliveries, all of which contributed to reducing isolation and costs. .
Service exchangers around the world
As a rapidly growing phenomenon at home and abroad, time banks are well established in most US states and in over forty countries. In 2021, there were over 40,000 members at over 500 banks in the United States, from Sacramento to Castro Valley, Nova Scotia and Hawaii and even Wellington, New Zealand.
These are local networks that mutually support members of the community. And they thrive.
Founded in 1995, TimeBanks in the United States began piloting new time banks through a startup framework where software allowed members to enter data about themselves, their talents, and the services they would like offer to the community. The data included the services members expected to receive. It was also the house where they could track their earned hours.
“Within our network are time banks in most states and in dozens of countries, 15.4 million trades came from our network in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia,” TimeBanks, USA, executive director and CEO Krista Wyatt said. “After the worst of COVID, we are seeing a jump in growth and have just started working with a Ukraine-based group.”
According to time management consultant Gayle Bergmann, TimeBanks in the United States was an invaluable resource for the young Sebastopol group.
“TBUSA connected me with people who have run banks for many years and have been generous with their knowledge and experience,” she said. “Their resources helped orient our new group to the concept of time banking and the intangible benefits of positive emotions for the member providing skill on an individual basis.”