Sunday, March 4, 2007

Time Banking in Middlebury

A Time Bank is a complimentary currency system through which community members can exchange their time. Local organizations, non-profits, medical practices and faith based groups often participate as well. There are over 300 time banks worldwide working to create social change and rebuild communities.

Middlebury is working on starting a time bank this spring. In Burlington this fall Melissa Steibert from the Burlington Currency Project gathered a group of excited vontuneers to start a time bank in the Old North End. We plan to start more this year in other neighborhoods. The O.N.E. time bank, through our community website, already has 64 members who have exchanged 150 hours. Members have received and given child care, oil changes, transportation, computer repair, housecleaning, guitar lessons, and even marketing advice. There are endless possibilities for how time banking can enrich a neighborhood or town.

Everyone has skills they can contribute to a time bank, and everyone has services they would like to receive, even if they may be difficult to recognize. Have you ever wanted to learn how to make great homemade bread? Have voice lessons or language lessons? Get a professional massage? There are many services we would like to receive in our lives that we never consider because of their monetary cost. With Time Banking you can receive those without having to save extra money- just by helping out a neighbor for a few hours doing something you enjoy.

Each community’s timebank reflects the needs and interests of its members. Have a great idea for the Middlebury Time Bank? Post a comment below or email us at

Valuing the Core Economy

Many of us have difficulties succeeding in our current market economy, where only a fraction of the work that takes place in our world is accounted for and valued- where everyone's time and skills are not considered equal.

What would happen if the core economy was valued? This term, coined by economist Neva Goodwin, represents the work that we do to keep our families and neighborhoods healthy and functioning. It includes the skills we use on a daily basis, including child care, cooking, household maintenance and construction, or growing food in your yard.

Time Banking, as a complimentary currency system, empowers individuals by acknowledging this work and placing an equal value on everyone’s skills and time. By encouraging exchanges between neighbors and among community members, everyone can realize what important assets they have as an individual. Additionally, through embracing the core economy and exchanging your time and skills with neighbors, you can simplify and enrich your life while becoming more successful within our current economic system.

For more info, read a brief essay on the Core Economy from Time Banks founder, Edgar Cahn

Types of services offered

Here are some examples of services that could be offered within the time bank. This is how the service offers and requests are categorized on the online banking system.

Help at Home

  • Child Care
  • Cooking & Sewing
  • Hair & Beauty
  • Housekeeping/Chores
  • Pet Care
  • Respite Care
  • Miscellaneous

Community Activities

  • Clean Up/Recycling
  • Community Service
  • Fundraising
  • Special Projects
  • Work for Social Change


  • Complementary Therapies
  • Counseling
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Fitness & Exercise
  • Medical Services
  • Yoga/Meditation

Arts, Crafts, & Music

  • Classes
  • Crafts
  • Entertainment
  • Lessons
  • Photo & Video
  • Theater

Home Repair

  • Car Care
  • Carpentry/Construction
  • Electrical
  • Garden & Yard Work
  • Painting
  • Plumbing


  • Errands
  • Local
  • Long Distance
  • Medical
  • Train/Bus/Airport
  • Worship
  • Miscellaneous


  • Clubs
  • Dining Out
  • Email/IM
  • Home Visits
  • Medical Errands
  • Telephone Calls


  • Books & Videos
  • Dancing
  • Events
  • Games
  • Sports
  • Travel


  • Advocacy
  • Classes/Workshops
  • Computers/Technology
  • Languages/Translation
  • Personal Finances
  • Tutoring/Mentoring

Business Services

  • Clerical
  • Computer Support
  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Research
  • Odd Jobs

Core Values of Time Banking

Time Banks exist to promote exchanges that honor five core values.


We are all assets.

Every human being has something to contribute.

Redefining Work

Some work is beyond price.

Work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.


Helping works better as a two-way street.

The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we both will live in?”

Social Networks

We need each other.

Networks are stronger than individuals. People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.


Every human being matters.

Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.