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Students from the Woolman Semester School visit BACE Timebank

This is a guest post by Megan Stoddard, an active BACE member: On Thursday, March 18th, BACE was honored with a visit from students of the Woolman Semester School. This alternative residential high school in Nevada City, California takes high school juniors and seniors, and gap year students, for semester-long programs focusing on social and environmental justice. This was the second time Woolman students visited BACE. Their first visit, by last semester’s group of students, took place in November 2012.

Our guests were at the tail end of their Great Turning field trip, which is part of the Global Issues class taught by Emily Ziont. This trip brought them to the Bay Area for a tour of groups, projects, and programs that offer solutions to immediately pressing global issues. In BACE presentation by volunteers Ricardo Simon, Amber Yada, and Megan Stoddard, held at Noisebridge, the students gained exposure to a whole new economic model.

Questions flew. Students and staff alike were very curious about how all of this works.

Question: How do you prevent people from freeloading and taking advantage of the system?

Answer: People wouldn’t want to work for freeloaders, so that takes care of itself, and we’ve never had that problem–people tend to feel obligated to give services when they’ve received services.

Question:  What if I’m a new Timebank member and I need a service before I’ve done any work?

Answer: Then you have a negative balance, and that’s okay–there’s no penalty for having given more credits than you’ve received.

Question: Is there a limit to how many credits you can have (above or below zero)?

Answer: Not really–if someone has more than fifty credits either way, we may contact them to make sure they know how to use the system, because what we really want is for people to be both giving and receiving–but again, we’ve never had any problems.

Question: Are there timebanks in other places (i.e. this student’s hometown, Asheville, North Carolina)?

Answer: Yes, and you should be able to find them with an Internet search. There’s also a timebank for college students, which probably all of you will be soon.

In the spirit of spreading the word, Woolman students Lily Bell and Augie Brinker have posted articles on the school’s blog about the Timebank presentation. (Slight correction to the article by Lilly Bell: Megan, Amber, and Rick are not the founders of BACE, just the volunteers who could make it that day.)

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