In this time of Covid-19, particularly here on Vashon as we move toward fall and the coming rainy season, time feels different for many of us in 2020. Some folks have more time on their hands than ever before and feel an accompanying sense of isolation from the larger community, while others are facing the challenges of an overwhelming task list as they juggle the demands of working from home, children returning to online classes, and navigating the new ways we interact with each other and the wider world. Some islanders might have more available time due to less commuting, some are feeling stretched thin by added demands to their daily and weekly schedules.
For many of us, particularly as meeting outdoors becomes more challenging as the seasons shift, there is a growing need to still feel connected to our local friends and neighbors amidst this time of physical distancing. There may well be projects that need attending to or a desire for meaningful ways to enrich our lives during challenging times, by brushing up on old skills or learning something new.
Seeing the dramatic changes unfolding in all aspects of our society, from education to the economy to health care, when the pandemic hit last spring, Backbone Campaign began researching how to create a Time Bank for our local community. Time Banking is a tool for building connection and resiliency, where members exchange services, based on the currency of time. After speaking with Time Bank leaders across the country, as well as learning from Islanders who worked on previous Island Time Banks, Backbone Campaign is launching the “Vashon Island Time Exchange.” Islanders are invited to sign up at VashonTime.org.
The time bank works pretty simply: When a member provides a service for another member, they earn “time credits.” Time is the unit of measurement, so one hour always equals one time credit. Earned time credits can be spent throughout the Time Bank community, connected through a web-based software program called Community Weaver 3.
To launch the Vashon Island Time Exchange, Backbone Campaign is hosting a Community Teach-In on Saturday, September 19th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Time Bank members are invited to share their knowledge, experience, and gifts by giving a class, either via Zoom (or another web platform) or at an outdoor location, with masks and physical distancing.
“The Time Exchange tool is about connecting people’s unmet needs and untapped resources. Everyone has something to share, and everyone is curious about something,” says Backbone Campaign Executive Director Bill Moyer. “The ‘Each One Teach One’ Exchange is a way to unlock the potentials and gifts of our community members, and it reinforces the idea of lifelong learning. We hope the Teach-In can foster a roster that teachers in our public school system can access. There are many ways our community can show up for our youth, who face unprecedented learning challenges.”
Islanders who join the Time Exchange are invited to share their knowledge about languages, tools, design, movement, skills for success, history, how-tos, and more by signing up to give a workshop that day. They can advertise their class in the online Time Exchange, and other members can peruse offerings and sign up.
“Our hope is that each member will sign up to take a class and also to teach a class,” says Amy Morrison, another Time Exchange organizer. “Share your gift. What can you bring to our community? What are you curious about? These are questions that form the building blocks of a resilient and connected community.”
For more information about the Vashon Island Time Exchange, contact email@example.com or visit VashonTime.org.