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Timebank Profile: Kansas Chuck

We are thrilled to have timebank member Florence Hamilton interviewing and writing profiles of fellow timebank members! Her profile of Kansas Chuck is the first of what we hope will be a fun and diverse series. If you know of a timebank member who you think would make an interesting subject, please let us know! 

Kansas Chuck, right, teaches bicycle maintenance. Photo by Robert Yee.

“KANSAS”, the name he calls himself, is an expert on bicycles-he builds, remakes, and repairs them. This includes adult three-wheelers. The Doña Ana Communities United Timebank website tells members to call Kansas if they need or want bicycle services.  Kansas says he is also a machinist and a handyman and he can and will do carpentry. Of course, these come after bicycles.

In 1979, he says he dedicated his life to furthering human powered transportation. In January 1984 he became car-free.  Kansas says he can and will teach anyone how to change their lifestyle from fossil fuel transportation to human powered transportation.  This is his mission.

Kansas came to Las Cruces to live after deciding twelve years of Arizona heat was enough.

Claiming ADHD disability and needing help with understanding the government’s rules and regulations regarding his Medicare and maintaining his disability status, Kansas says he was introduced to Kari Bachman, our DACU director- he was told she could help him. He says Kari told him he could probably get help through the timebank, an organization whose members exchanged gifts for needs, posting both on the internet.  Kansas says the concept of a no money economy and people helping other people for free was hard for him to believe.  But he was invited to and attended meetings where members listed their gifts and needs and other members really claimed those gifts and used their own skills to supply other members’ needs.  Moreover, he had fun at these meetings.  He joined the timebank.

Kansas now calls DACU his family and says he’s at the office frequently. The intersection mural project made him realize there is power in a group. DACU members had power.  He says he realized he liked being here and Las Cruces had begun to feel like home.

Kansas still seeks help with Medicare and the rules and regulations of his disability.  He looks forward to having a place where he can make bikes, remake bikes, repair bikes and most of all teach the skill to kids of all ages. He also stresses human powered transportation is a must.

 

DACU Receives Partners for Places Grant

  

We are excited to announce that DACU has been awarded a grant from Partners for Places, which is a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

DACU will work with residents in the Bellamah/Nevada neighborhood to create connections through civic engagement, urban art, and timebanking. Let us know if you live in this great neighborhood and would like to be involved in this exciting work!

This is part of a larger project of the City of Las Cruces Sustainability Office that will increase safety and address heat island effects by slowing traffic through creation of a green corridor on Nevada Avenue. DACU’s work will also will be integrated with nearby Lynn Middle School, which has just been named the city’s first community school.

Profile: Parisa Shirazi

A huge welcome to Parisa Shirazi, a Border Servant Corps volunteer who is working with hOur Time for the next year! Parisa comes to Las Cruces by way of Chicago, her hometown, and Milwaukee, where she did her undergraduate work at Marquette University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.

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Parisa first visited the border region in March, when she participated in a border immersion trip to El Paso for five days. At that time in her life graduation from Marquette was looming but her plans on continuing on to law school weren’t feeling right. She knew very little about life on the U.S. / Mexico border, but she was curious and jumped at the opportunity to participate in the immersion program and visit for five days.

Those five days changed the direction of her life. Her experiences included staying at the Annunciation House where she interacted with migrant women in need; observing the experiences of those in immigration court; and meeting with farm workers. These experiences made a deep impression on her, and when she returned to Milwaukee and Chicago, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she saw and experienced.

She soon withdrew her applications from law school and decided to simply find a job. Yet none of the jobs she was applying for excited her, but she didn’t know what she wanted. But then she heard about Border Servant Corps, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Peace Lutheran Church which hosts full-time volunteers for a year who work with border issues such as domestic violence, immigration, poverty, and other social needs. These volunteers pledge to live lives that emphasize social justice, community, spirituality, and simplicity during their year of service.

After learning about the Border Servant Corps, she knew she must apply. And this is how she came to us!

She arrived in Las Cruces on August 13th, and is loving it here. And her thoughts on chile? As an Iranian-American she grew up on Persian cuisine, which is sweet and lacking in hot spices. Consequently her experiences with chile have been very intense, but so far she has survived her fiery encounters.

As a Border Servant Corps volunteer, she is working with Kari Bachman to advance and grow hOur Time. Her work includes conducting orientations, reaching out to prospective members, assisting current members, and raising awareness of hOur Time by participating in various community events.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring things about Parisa and her experiences  in working closely with Kari and becoming more familiar with the borderlands is that she feels she has now found her calling in life: working to advance health equity in communities. Once her time with Border Servant Corp ends, she is planning on pursuing a graduate degree in public health or something similar.

We are so fortunate to have you live and work with us, Parisa! Welcome!

Profile: Building Community

This is a story about how one timebank exchange led to building community between two groups who are all too often marginalized: those with disabilities and elderly in assisted living.

Bean Bag Baseball
Bean Bag Baseball June 2016

Kay has placed several offers on the hOur Time board dealing with her expertise, writing and editing. One day however, she decided to place an offer on something she is passionate about: building community. This is what her offer reads.

“I believe strongly that everyone has something valuable to contribute and have some creative ways of engaging the gifts of everyone.”

Not expecting any responses to this seemingly odd offer, she was surprised when Cathilia responded soon after. Cathilia’s mother, Judy, is living at Golden Mesa, an assisted living community for the elderly. Judy is an artist and has early signs of dementia. She has been depressed about no longer being useful and no longer feeling able to make meaningful social connections.

Cathilia was interested if Kay had any ideas as to how to make Judy feel more connected and restore some meaning to her life.

Kay works with The Beloved Community, a community-building project for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After learning about Judy, she immediately thought of Austin, a member of The Beloved Community who is an artist. Kay spoke with Austin’s parents who agreed to explore a possible connection.

Cathilia made initial contact with the activities director at Golden Mesa who then invited Kay and those of The Beloved Community to participate in their activities along with Judy and Austin. One of these activities was an adult coloring session. At this coloring session, residents at Golden Mesa and the young adults from The Beloved Community colored together, talked together, and shared stories. Four generations were represented at this event.

These interactions have been so successful that Golden Mesa and The Beloved Community continue to collaborate.

Kay summed up the experience, stating “Every exchange has potential for greater impact. We can’t fathom the reach of the timebank to transform relationships within the community and with each other.

BEAN BAG BASEBALL – JUNE 2016

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Why Timebanking?

It is so exciting that timebanking has come to our community! Why, you might ask?

First, a quick overview.

Timebanking originated in the United States in the late 1980’s. Today there are timebanks all over the world, with over 300 timebanks in the United States alone.

Given timebanking is here to stay, it’s about time our community joins the timebanking movement!

But it gets even more exciting when one learns about research findings on timebanking. Research indicates timebanking has numerous benefits for individuals and communities. These benefits include the following:

  • Feeling less financially distressed
  • Decreased loneliness and isolation
  • Feeling valued
  • Making new friends, particularly with people who have different backgrounds from yours
  • Feeling safer in one’s community
  • Feeling confident you can call on others for help
  • Increased participation in other community activities
  • Learning new skills
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Feeling that you belong to something meaningful

That’s a pretty impressive list, don’t you think? Now, imagine the possibilities for our community!

What Happens at the Orientation?

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Orientation May 2016

To enroll in hOur Time you must first attend the orientation. Believe me – it is a fun and informative two hours!

After learning the details of how hOur Time works, you will discuss what makes a good “offer” and a good “request.” This is a lot of fun because it includes breaking up into pairs and discussing what services you have to offer and what services you want to receive. In the orientation I attended, I found this activity very interesting on many levels. Some people easily thought of services they needed, while others easily thought of what they could offer. For those initially struggling to identify something they could offer this soon changed, with people coming to realize they indeed had services to offer. As the discussion continued, one could see some potential exchanges being made, with one person suggesting she/he could offer a service as another person’s eyes lit up and responding saying she/he would love to receive that service. The orientation concludes with participants filling out some simple paperwork necessary for enrollment into hOur Time.

If you’re not already a member, we hope to see you at our next orientation! See the Events page for details.