It’s About Time

7202_12972_17116As a college student, I knew the sting of being time-rich and money-poor too well. On some nights between writing research papers, I remember closing my laptop, heading out to the common room, rummaging through an overstuffed freezer, and pulling out a cheap, frozen dinner to reheat. While I was never quite ramen-fueled, I knew what it was like to have little disposable income because I was  funneling most of money towards my education. And for all those years, I knew a number of people who had the same experience.

Often times, my friends and I would scrounge what little cash we had to see cheap concerts and shows, to go out to some budget-friendly restaurants, and to just hang out. Despite my budget, I still had fun. What I take away from these experiences is not the money I spent but the time I had to laugh, to get to know everyone’s quirks and eccentricities, and to make some lasting connections.

Full TB LogosmlToday, I have a full-time job now in Washington, D.C. and a steadier source of income, but I still feel like I have that time. It’s not as much as I had in college, but as young professional, I know I have the time to explore different avenues, to make mistakes, to figure out what I do and don’t like, and to lend a helping hand.

Built on this idea that lending someone your time can strengthen relationships and communities is TimeBanks USA. Like a system of modern bartering, “TimeBanking is a way of giving and receiving to build supportive networks and strong communities. One hour helping another earns one TimeBank Hour (also called time credits, service credits or time dollars.) TimeBanking builds on the magic of “pay it forward,” one good turn leading to another and another.”

Essentially, the idea is that when you take the time to do something for someone, they can give you the time back by doing you a favor in return. According to the TimeBanks website, there are five core values that guide interactions in this exchange, and these values can be applied to the work done by any Everyday Ambassador. The values area:

  • Asset: The idea of asset is that “everyone has something to give” and that everyone is of worth to the community in which they live in.
  • Redefining work: This value is the principle that valuable work needs to be “honored, recorded, and rewarded” in healthy, thriving, and progressive communities.
  • Reciprocity: The idea here is ‘how can we help each other build the world we all will live in?’
  • Social networks: The idea here is that “community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, creating networks”, and special relationships.
  • Respect: Respect is grounded in the idea that all humans are due respect in the moment and “not where we hope they will be at some future point”.

Inspired? Check out the TimeBanks USA website, and see if your community is partaking in this movement. If not, be the person to generate interest, to inspire others by donating part of your free time, and to contribute to your community’s enrichment on a whole.


“Bucket List” is a weekly series curated by Everyday Ambassador brand strategist Audrey del Rosario. Every Saturday, we will feature events, conferences, and happenings that spark conversation and ignite your inner activist. To stay current with our latest posts, follow #bucketlist or #EAinspired on our other platforms, and check back regularly for updates.

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