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  • Reinette Senum

Nevada County's Timebank, Hour Nevada County, Celebrates 2nd Anniversary; Holding Orientation

The Nevada County Timebank, Hour Nevada County, will be celebrating its second anniversary this month and is holding an Introduction and Orientation, Thursday, March 16th at 6pm, at the Madelyn Helling Library, Community Room, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City. The local timebank, launched by Nevada City City Councilwoman, Reinette Senum, was created to enhance community building while providing an alternative economic system.

A time-based currency is an alternative currency or exchange system where one hour equals one service credit. In these systems, one person volunteers to work for an hour for another person; thus, they are credited with one hour, which they can redeem for an hour of service from another timebank member.

Local Hour Nevada County members, Jacquie Janssen and her husband Jerome Myers, have been active with the organization since it started 2 years ago. According to Janssen, “HNC has been a great help for me and my family. We have had massage, tutoring for my son, computer repairs, alternative health therapies, sewing and more. It feels good to be able to help others with things that my husband and I enjoy doing while being able to receive things we would have otherwise had to spend money on. I have even donated hours to Women of Worth so they can have more support. I have met the kindest people while exchanging. These are people that were out of my normal circle of friends so I probably would have not met them otherwise.”

The timebank system was designed by Edgar S. Cahn, Phd; a 1963 graduate of Yale Law School. Today Cahn is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law as well as the former counsel and speechwriter to Robert F. Kennedy.

It was in 1980 that Cahn saw a perfect storm brewing in the rise of aging baby boomers, social service reductions, and a slowing economy. The “core economy” that Cahn referred to as “friends, family, and neighbors helping one another” had been replaced over the decades with the dollar economy. This worked fine while everyone could afford to pay for services and skills. But once the economy began to slow people began having to forgo services and even personal and home maintenance.

In response, Edgar Cahn created timebanking, originally known as “service credits”, as a system of exchange that would act as a way to foster and reward the work needed to build strong, resilient communities; ultimately repairing this “frayed fabric of community.

This timebanking tax-exempt local currency has over 44,000 members worldwide, with over 40 states and 32 nations participating, and nearly 2,200,000 hours exchanged; effectively addressing virtually every major social problem and emerging as the leading framework for system change.

Even the City of Nevada City has gotten involved with Hour Nevada County. HNC members have spent time the past two years helping with Nevada City’s Spring Cleaning event, which is happening again next month. With Nevada City’s new Volunteer Program, members will be able to help the City of Nevada City with things for which they have no budget. And those members will, in turn, receive hours that they can exchange for services that they need-- whether it is from another timebank member or the City itself is considering to allow timebank members to use their hours for rental at venues like Seaman’s Lodge or the Nevada City Veteran’s Building.

The local timebank, Hour Nevada County, currently has 216 members and continues to grow with over 1,600 hours exchanged. Members are required to attend an orientation to better understand how to best utilize the organization. Thursday’s 6pm Intro/Orientation will serve as both an introduction for those interested and a training for new members. It will be held at the Madelyn Helling Library, Community Room, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City.

“Timebanking literally keeps an accounting of your good deeds, down to the minute,” stated Senum, “ultimately translating that into an international currency.”

For more information contact Reinette Senum at or visiting their website at

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