Non-profit working to create new barter system ‘Rochester Time Bank’

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- A local non-profit is attempting to create Rochester’s first ‘Time Bank’, a service exchange system that will help people trade skills and services. Instead of money, they receive time as a payment.

Robert Avel and Monique Adams are targeting the nearly 60,000 people living in poverty in Rochester through their idea of a ‘Rochester Time Bank’.

 “We use time, we use it as a way for households to earn economic value,” said Robert Avel, entrepreneur and co-founder of Rochester Time Bank.

A time bank is a form of community service exchange where people trade labor for time-based credits, rather than money.

The concept came from Edgar Cahn who founded ‘time bank USA’ in 1995, and the idea has branched all over the nation,  including a system set up in Ithaca New York.

The main purpose is to build community, according to the co-founder Dr. Monique Adams.

“I discovered that there was huge need in the community to get connected to each other, and a lot of that was through volunteering. And when you look at populations of color, a lot of their volunteering is informally,” said Dr. Monique Adams, Step UP to your future, Co-founder Rochester Time Bank.

The time bank will give these workers a platform to exchange their services. It will be formed as part of the non-profit Step Up 2 Your Future.

People can request services through the time bank and service providers can accept the request, with each party exchanging time instead of money once complete.

“You fix a leak, that’s all over the floor and it took two hours, and you’re there and you need somebody to mow your lawn. You could talk to the next guy and he could give you two hours which balances you out and he mowed the lawn, you didn’t have to do that,” said Avel.

“Its actually finding out what are their skills that within the community the services that they can offer, and then that can be shared with others and so it’s a circle of giving,” said Adams.

Right now the ‘Rochester Time Bank’ is still in the beginning stages and is working to gather funding. The founders hope to launch the time bank on July 4, 2021.

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