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September, 2012:

BACE’s September POSSE Party! Yay!

Our next POSSE Party will focus on FAMILIES: the ones we’re born into, and the ones we create. Free childcare will be provided. It’s gonna be on September 20th, 2012, at the Happiness Institute, 1720 Market St in San Francisco.

Come by any time from 4 PM to 8 PM and participate in our potluck, skill-shares, and gift circles. Your little ones will be expertly attended by experienced volunteers whenever you need a break. We will also have a skill-share geared for younger participants.

Please bring something yummy to eat or drink to share!

If you will need childcare, feel free to call Amber at 415-699-7011, so we can arrange to have enough volunteers and age-appropriate activities.  You can also email her at adyada@yahoo.com.
Power to the babies, kids, and grown folks!

August’s POSSE Party

On August 23rd we gathered at the Happiness Institute for gift circles, yummy food and skillshares in yoga, massage, meditation and dance.

We had two gift circles, one for the early birds, and one in the middle of the evening. 15 to 20 people gathered in a room and went around the circle, introducing ourselves and what was on our minds. Taking the time to sit in a circle and listen to each other, we began to build trust and feel relaxed. We became able to describe how we were feeling, to ask for what we might need and declare what we could offer. There were a number of exchanges that sprang from the two gift circles.

For the duration, the party’s energy flowed really smoothly. The volunteers who brought food, shared skills, and helped run the event really made it all possible. People who came were engaged by volunteers and by each other in a way that felt intentional and organic.

One of the lessons of the event was that participants were enjoying the skillshares so much, we didn’t have time for all the classes we booked – even staying an hour later than planned! Our skillsharers were very gracious, though. We appreciate their understanding and look forward to working with them again.

If you are interested in throwing a POSSE Party in your neck of the Bay Area and don’t know where to start, we can break it down into easy steps for you. Contact Rick at timebankinfo@sfbace.org, or call Amber at 415-699-7011.

Creating a Safe Space in the BACE Community

Written by Amber Yada

It’s our goal to make BACE as accessible as possible to anyone who feels the need to be part of this collective.

Volunteers should practice basic human respect: keep your word, honor people’s space and time, communicate respectfully, be understanding, and be aware that people have individual needs.

However, if you feel someone has been out of line with you in any way, we encourage you to talk with us. Not everyone is treated equally in our society, and this has deep effects on our behaviors, even in communities that have progressive, egalitarian values.

Strategies for Safety

You can request for an additional “sidekick” person to accompany you on an exchange. This is a good way to feel safer for exchanges done in the home or in a place where one-on-one situations aren’t a comfortable option for you. For some folks, having more than two people lessens the tension, and it can actually diffuse negative behavior. You can ask someone you already know, or you can contact us via phone, email, or the BACE site as described below. We will help you find someone.

Remember you have the agency to say, “I’d like to meet you in person before committing to this exchange.” Peoples’ energy and presence say a lot about them. Feeling someone out beforehand — especially if the exchange involves a more personal service, like bodywork or childcare — is not only acceptable, it’s recommended. It’s a simple way to prevent an unsatisfactory exchange; and it can make a good exchange even more meaningful by building a relationship around it.

When you have questions about someone, try meeting the person at a public space or event. Monthly POSSE Parties are a perfect setting for facilitating exchanges face-to-face. You can also invite someone to our regular BACE work meetings every Thursday from 1 to 4 PM at the Happiness Institute, 1720 Market Street, San Francisco.

If a person on the Timebank decides not to receive your services or offer you theirs, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, or that there are no possibilities for future exchanges; it means that it wasn’t the right fit this time around. Similarly, if someone requests an additional “sidekick” person, it shouldn’t be read as a lack of trust on their part. We need to respect that everyone is building their own paths of trust in this world, and they might not look like our own.

Not everyone is a good fit for an exchange. There are respectful ways to say and hear “No, thank you” from a fellow volunteer. There are respectful ways to be a volunteer. Practice them.
Building trust and opening ourselves to each other involve a constructive kind of risk. But this process should never require giving up personal feelings of safety and agency.

We find sexual harassment, bigotry, threats, violence, and other abuse absolutely unacceptable. Breeches of conduct will be handled on an individual basis, with accountability as a guiding goal.

Any complaints can be made, anonymously if need be, by calling Amber at 415-699-7011. You can also email timebankinfo@sfbace.org. We will come up with a plan together and proceed at your own level of comfort, taking into consideration the humanity of everyone involved.