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.


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