Local group wants to bank your time, not your money

April 01, 2012
Kiersten Throndsen
Mercer Island KOMO News

Local group wants to bank your time, not your money

Why spend money when you can give time? That's the idea behind Mercer Island's Timebank.

"This allows everyone to feel like they have something of value to offer," said Kim Kendall, member ofTransition Initiative Mercer Island (TIMI).

Kendall says using timebanks is nothing new: "There are more than 100 timebanks in the U.S." But she says bringing a timebank to the Island hasn't been done before.

"Since the fall we have been doing research on different types of exchange systems."

A way to share skills, timebanking provides people with time credit. You bank an hour for every hour you help someone else with something else.

This way, Kendall says, people can save cash and at the same time build a stronger sense of community reliance.

The idea grew from a discussion among several Mercer Island residents involved in TIMI and Youth and Family Services. The residents decided to form a small steering committee to look at bringing the currency exchange system to the Island.

Using the model established by the Eastside Timebank, those who join the bank would be subject to a background check. Once they pass the check, they would be given access to an online database where they can start sharing their skills and seeing what others in the system have to offer. 

"Use it to get things done around your place you might not be able to get done or have been putting off. Skills related to food, local food production, gardening skills, building planters, teaching a class on how to grow veggies or fruit and much more. I am actually pretty excited about using it myself," Kendall said.

The steering committee is holding a community meeting about the idea on April 30, from 6:30-8:30p.m. inside the Mercer Island Library. Anyone interested in learning about timebanking and helping bring the currency exchange system to Mercer Island is encouraged to attend.

The hope is to launch the timebank by late summer or early fall.

(Your time is money. Photo courtesy Flickr user 'robandstephanielevy'. (Creative Commons).)

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