It really does take a village
Spokane Regional Health District expands time bank to West Plains
Last updated 5/30/2019 at 8:37am
Last year, the Spokane Regional Health District piloted a “time bank” in a few select Airway Heights neighborhoods. The idea was simple and hearkened back to the 1980s — the online time bank would be an organized way for people to trade their skills based on units of time; for example, trading lawn mowing for cooking classes.
Now, the district is preparing to open the doors to the entire West Plains community, said Program Specialist Heather Wallace.
“There are a lot of people whose skills are not valued by the economy,” Wallace said. “(The time bank) helps people get together and form a web so in times of need or crisis they have someone to rely on.”
The time bank will be run entirely online or via an app, though there are options available for those who don’t have a phone or computer or have a disability, she said.
Non-profits will be able to become members as a way to gain volunteers, and companies can sign up teams of employees.
The long-range goal of the program is to build community connectivity, which has been proven to help eliminate and mitigate child abuse and neglect. Those who earn hours through the time bank will be able to redeem them with anyone and does not require a minimum time commitment.
“It allows people to build skills and is reciprocal — everyone has value and skills,” Wallace said.
The Neighborhood Matters program, the offshoot of Spokane Regional Health District that will run the time bank, meets at the Airway Heights library every third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. for a family game night for all ages and provides a light dinner, Wallace said.
There, visitors and residents can learn more about enrolling the time bank. In many cases, children can also volunteer because “kids want to be included,” she said.
The one thing the district asks is that members only provide what they are actually qualified to do – that means no offering vehicular mechanics help if you’ve never picked up a wrench. Services provided are separate from members’ professional lives, i.e. a plumber volunteering their services does so separately from the company they work for.
“This has been going on since the 80s and most of the legal kinks have been worked out. There’s no tax implications, liability is the same as if any other person visited your property and it’s no additional risk,” Wallace said.
The bank’s online system ensures security, and members can choose what commitments they wish to make.
While not technically enrolling yet, program leaders hope to announce an official orientation date soon. Spokane Regional Health District plans to hold a June 15 wellness event from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Airway Heights Grocery Outlet parking lot and hosts the annual “Night Out Against Crime” in August.
“When people know each other it creates a community that we’re really missing,” Wallace said.
For more information or to enroll in the time bank, call Heather Wallace at 509-280-4795 or email at email@example.com.
Shannen Talbot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.