Kim Hodge saw an unmet need for a wide array of services in her community. So she seized the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind services exchange based on neighbors helping neighbors.
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Under her TimeBanks program, launched in her hometown Lathrup Village three years ago, you can spend an hour doing something for someone in your community. That hour goes into the Time Bank as a Time Dollar, which you can spend on having someone do something for you.
Hodge’s vision, leadership and creativity have earned her AARP Michigan’s first Stephen J. Gools Award for Social Change. She will receive the award at AARP’s volunteer recognition banquet in Detroit in November.
The award is named for the innovative and visionary Steve Gools, who passed away in April after serving 12 years as state director of AARP Michigan. Gools was known as a passionate champion for the underserved, and the volunteer training program he developed is a model for the national organization.
“Because of Kim’s vision and work, TimeBanks is an effective social change movement,” said Hollis Turnham, Midwest director of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, who nominated Hodge for the honor. “Her work is grounded in the values Steve Gools believed in, worked for and inspired us to continue.”
The initial TimeBank in Lathrup Village has grown to more than 130 members who have exchanged 5,518 hours of services. The pioneer program has spawned TimeBanks in eight other communities. Hodge, 54, is now executive director of the mushrooming Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks. Total time exchanged at all Michigan TimeBanks is 10,124 hours.
Here’s how Hodge’s TimeBanks program works: Say you have a talent for baking, but you don’t climb ladders. You bake a chocolate cake or a turkey dinner for a neighbor. You then use the Time Dollars you earned to pay for someone to clean out your eaves troughs.
“TimeBanks are an innovative method used to create sustainable communities,” Hodge says. “They create a host of economic, civic, systemic and social benefits for participating individuals and organizations. All services are equal, so every hour spent on a task is worth one TimeBank hour, and members can redeem one TimeBank hour for one hour of service.”
Hodge also launched the Michigan Alliance Time Bank Institute, the educational and supportive services hub for developing TimeBanks across the state. She has created materials for and trained others on TimeBank concepts.
She has spread awareness of TimeBanking to more than 120 organizations and 97 communities across Michigan. Her MATB website, www.mitimebanks.org, has had over 43,000 hits since June 2010.
“We’re building community, one hour at a time,” Hodge says.