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Time Banking: New Service That Uses Volunteer Hours As Currency Gaining Popularity

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's a new service gaining popularity in our region. It's all about sharing what you love to do with others, who in return, do the same thing.

Where does the time go? With a local program, it could have been deposited into a bank -- a "time bank" that is.

"Time banking is a membership-based barter system that uses volunteer hours instead of money as currency," said time bank coordinator Julianna Beauvais.

Let's say a member offers a service such as washing a car or editing a resume for one hour.

They will earn one "time bank dollar" which can be exchanged for a service that will benefit them in return. Think home-cooked meals, a ride to the airport or hair braiding.

The services offered by members are all found on the Good Neighbors Time Bank website.

"It's whatever they are really good at or enjoy doing and willing to give to others," Beauvais said.

Time banking as a concept has been around since the earliest societies but this exchange of goods and services didn't really have a name until the early 19th century, and it has recently seen a revival with programs now taking place around the country and world.

"So many people come and they want to join and they say, 'Oh, I don't know what I can offer. I don't have anything to offer.' I sit there and say, 'Oh my gosh, everybody has something to offer,'" Beauvais said.

The Good Neighbors Time Bank is still in its first year and serves southeastern Pennsylvania. It's made possible through a grant obtained by KenCrest to help communities feel more connected.

"We believe that no matter what walk of life you're coming from or what ability you have, you have something to offer the community," Beauvais said.

And everyone has something to gain, costing only the time you're willing to give.

For more information on the KenCrest Good Neighbors Time Bank, click here.

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