Time Bank Offers Free Services and Brings Community Together

By: Britni McDonald Email
By: Britni McDonald Email

Time Bank is an organization in Dane County takes the price off of every kind of service you can imagine while bringing the community together.

It's the age old concept of helping each other out-- exchanging something you can do for something you need.

"There are a lot of different models to learn from," said creator, Stephanie Rearick. "We can take what's been good about those and connect with new technology and new ways of thinking and really make it work much better than what we've had so far."

It's an idea that started with one person, Stephanie Rearick, who believed we could meet the community's needs by being more of a community.

"We had huge growing needs and at the same time the money for thees needs has been dwindling now."

Seven years later, there are thousands of people making exchanges weekly, sometimes daily.

"We view time bank as a way to pool our resources and really start projects," said Rearick.

"You can start to really see the wealth you have the community that you may not have noticed before."

From learning how to play a drums to fixing someone's car, from shoveling snow to raking leaves-- the possibilities are endless.

"The idea catches on pretty easily because it's simple to want to cooperate with our neighbors," said Rearick.

To join go to danecountytimebank.org, develop a profile with what you can offer, set up exchanges with other members, bank hours that you exchange, and browse what services you can take up with those hours earned.

Emily Steinweh even got married using time bank hours.

"We paid him one time bank hour to do our wedding ceremony, and he donated the time bank hour back as a wedding gift," said Steinweh.

She's been a member since its inception now walks dogs weekly for a family that doesn't have the time.

"That's fun for me because I don't have a dog, so I benefit also," said Steinweh.

Just as Rearick hoped, what began as exchanges quickly becomes much larger than that.

"I've made a lot of friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise and had a lot of great relationships," said Steinweh.

Kay Sweeney takes a man to church and lunch every Sunday, now with a couple hundred hours banked that she no longer pays attention to.

"I don't really count them anymore. It's become more than that for me. It's become a way of life," said Sweeney.

"It's really nice to connect with other people with similar hopes and dreams and see how to make them come true," said Rearick.

To get connected, go to danecounttimebank.org or contact Stephanie Rearick at steph@stephanierearick.com.

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