L/A Time Bank Passes 100th Member Milestone

Community-Based Program Receives $10,000 Empower Lewiston Grant

LEWISTON – The Lewiston-Auburn Time Bank ( is pleased to announce its 100th member this month and an “Empower Lewiston” grant of $10,000 to help double current membership and triple current Time Dollar exchanges.

“Time Dollars are virtual currency representing time, energy, skills and talents that are exchanged by people, businesses, and others in the community,” says Sharon Carter, Time Bank Coordinator. “It’s neighbor to neighbor, people helping people.”

Time Banking, the social change movement inspired by Dr. Edgar Cahn in 1980, is practiced in 22 countries on six continents. The L/A Time Bank boasts 106 members and over 1,000 hours of Time Dollar exchanged. Service offerings include elderly companionship, language interpretation and lessons, tutoring for children and adults, minor home repair, yard and garden work, sewing, laundry, child care, and much more.

Thrive System of Care started Time Bank in February 2008 at the request of family members and youth interested in natural community supports. Thrive continues to provide funding, and Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services’ Inza Ouattara serves as part-time staff. Time Bank’s guiding “kitchen cabinet” has strong representation from downtown. Now Empower Lewiston’s grant will help sustain and grow the program’s community service mission.

“Every service that someone provides someone else through Time Bank is a building block for a strong community,” says Alyson Stone, Empower Lewiston’s Executive Director. “Each service meets an important individual need,” Stone says, “and each person providing a service and each one receiving is giving back and paying forward.”

Bates College senior, Sarah Davis, immediately caught on to the mutual benefit. She learned of Time Bank through the Bates Immigrant Rights Advocates (BIRA) group and its work with Catholic Charities. With a self-designed major in sociology, anthropology and politics called “Difference, Inequality and Conflict: Global Studies of Social Justice,” Davis is writing her thesis on how Time Bank facilitates refugee integration. Last semester, she recruited a half-dozen student volunteers to be job coaches, tutors, and to help one mother study to apply for citizenship.

“The minute Inza told us about Time Bank, we were so excited,” Davies says. “What a cool idea!” she says, “We knew we could build a student volunteer program to support it.”

BIRA will kick off this semester’s participation in early November with a cultural cooking event. Same as last year, Somalis will be on Bates campus teaching newly recruited student volunteers how to cook ethnic food.

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