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Q&A: SUN TimeBank director Kim Hodge

By Natalie Broda

nbroda@digitalfirstmedia.com @NatalieBroda on Twitter

In a world of crowd-funding campaigns and big-ticket gala dinners, it can be easy to forget that money isn’t the only worthy donation one can make to a cause, person or organization, but time as well.

That’s the message behind the Pontiac SUN TimeBank, a time-sharing and donation service that allows patrons to give, and in return take time as needed for projects. By donating an hour of one’s time to another, they’ll earn an hour to “purchase” on the TimeBank app, accessible to members only.

Membership for Pontiac residents is free for a limited time, according to the group’s website. Annual dues to join the TimeBank are $25 for individuals, $40 for a family or $100 for a business or organization.

Kim Hodge, director of the TimeBank, shared some more details on the organization, its vision and how to get involved.

Q : How did the Pontiac SUN TimeBank come to exist?

A : The Pontiac SUN Time Bank has been around for a little over three years. It stands for strong united neighbors. We have been fiscally sponsored by Common Ground and were funded by the United Way for three years.

Q : What’s the TimeBank all about?

A : The basic premise of the TimeBank is that we all have skills and we all have needs. Get, give and connect is our motto. We are not just about trading or bartering with each other individually. We are about reciprocity. Getting and giving to each other and creating a circle of giving that supports us in our community. Sharing love and time which are valued equally no matter who you are and what you do.

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Pontiac SUN TimeBank members at a recent event.

PHOTO COURTESY OF PONTIAC SUN TIMEBANK FACEBOOK


FROMPAGE 1 Q : How does it work?

A : TimeBanking is not a usual volunteer program; people get time in their TimeBank accounts for helping others.

If they do not want the time, they may donate them to other individuals who are more in need, or to a social capital pool which will be distributed to someone in need. One hour is one hour no matter who you are or what you do.

Individual members have accounts in an online database and they can also use a smartphone app to review offers, requests and record their time. Members may contact each other individually or exchanges may be brokered through staff.

Q : How does one get involved?

A : One joins by completing a paper membership form which is available on our website at www.pontiacsun.org. They also need to complete an online orientation where members log their contact information as well as offers and request showing their skills and needs.

That is where they also log the hours that they have spent helping someone else.

Q : What kind of jobs are available?

A : There are many opportunities to become involved both individually as well as group projects and group events. Things like a class to learn how to use your computer computer or to plant seeds for your garden or to do a group painting project or to help in city cleanups or to participate in a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Members lead a lot of our classes. We have lots of events each month which offer members and those who are interested to come together, get to know each other, build trust and build community. It is at those events where we hope members will reach out and touch someone and get to know someone new.

Q : How many people are already donated time?

A : We had over 250 members who have exchanged over 15,000 hours in the last four years. Not all those members are involved but those who are see a big value in belonging to the TimeBank and in getting to know other people.

Q : Tell us one of your favorite memories from the TimeBank so far?

A : My favorite recent story is about a genealogy class that we held.

It was given by a woman who is not a member of the TimeBank but she was willing to share her time.

One of our members came to the class and talked with others who were in attendance. She had not met her father except for once in her lifetime over 60 years ago. During the discussion with others who were in the group that night, one of the other people in attendance said she would help to find this person’s father. Two days later she showed up at this member’s doorstep and presented her with a death certificate from her father as well as several other important documents from his life.

This helped the member to fill the hole in her life caused by her not knowing her father.

Q : Anything else we should know?

A : Since July 1, 2016 we have been in partnership with St Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital to create a wraparound pilot project to support their patients. Since July 1 we have built the infrastructure and are now ready to receive referrals from the hospital staff.

The Pontiac SUN Time-Bank will hold a coffee social starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 at TimHorton’s located at 9 Telegraph Road in Waterford Township.

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