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Staunton Program Encourages "Time Banking," Community Involvemen - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Staunton Program Encourages "Time Banking," Community Involvement

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Time is money and a movement in the valley is taking that philosophy to heart. A group in Staunton is creating its own kind of currency for members to share skills and build friendships.

The hOUR Economy program has created a platform for people to teach others a broad range of skills - free of charge. Classes in things like yoga or cooking that people would normally need to pay for with cash, are actually purchased with their time.

"It is an alternative economy that we are creating here," said Christina Cain, executive director of Staunton Creative Community Fund.

When a new member joins hOUR Economy, they get three hours. With those hours, they can take a course taught by another member. Many of the courses are on unique topics like kombucha making or worm farming.

"Staunton is really rich on resources, but a lot of folks are low on cash. So what can we do to connect people and to get things done and to help people get where they need to go," said Cain.

As people become more involved, they can teach a class or post a service on the site and then give away the hours they've earned to whoever lends a helping hand.

"Time banking is a way to really democratize people's needs and resources. So everybody's time is of equal value," said Cain.

Cain, who is one of the founding members, says the forum has now grown to 200 members. Starting this month with the backing of Staunton Parks & Recreation, she hopes to see it grow even more.

"It's a great way for the facilitator to tap into an unmet market and also a great way for people to be able to learn that information without spending money," said Cain.

With more than 1,000 hours of expertise and service exchanged, Staunton Parks & Recreation says it is happy to do its part to support this movement.

"It opens the door for you to meet new people, and it encourages that good will amongst others, so hopefully you can meet new folks and connect with others instead of having to open up your checkbook," said Claire Richardson, Staunton Parks & Recreation manager.

There's a potluck this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Red Beard Brewing Company if you're looking to jump in to the fun. The event at Red Beard will count for hours for those who want to join the program and for those who are already involved.

For those just looking to learn more about hOUR Economy, there will be an information session January 30 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Montgomery Hall. 

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