linkAges TimeBank celebrates launch in City of Palo Alto

On June 18, approximately twenty-five linkAges TimeBank members and local residents came together at Bol Park to celebrate the launch of linkAges TimeBank in Palo Alto. In addition to a festive summer picnic, fun and games, guests enjoyed visits by stuffed donkey and city goodwill ambassador Palo Alto Perry, and the real Barron Park Donkeys, Pericles (Perry) and Niner.


This event was a great opportunity for Palo Alto residents to meet current TimeBank members and learn more about the linkAges TimeBank, while enjoying the great weather and beautiful location.

Since its city launch in March, more than 75 people in Palo Alto have signed up for the TimeBank, either independently or through organization partners, such as Beth Am, Palo Alto YMCA, and the City of Palo Alto Utilities Department and Zero Waste Departments. Local TimeBank members shared their experiences with guests and made new social connections by playing a get-to-know you bingo game and posing for photos with our donkey friends.

We are planning launch parties for all of the new communities in which we deploy the TimeBank. It’s our way of welcoming new members and showing appreciation for the residents of the diverse cities which make up the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Be sure to check the linkAges TimeBank website, Facebook and Twitter pages for updates about launch parties in your area.

You can find more photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Spring into Summer Cooking Cafe Event

“You cook a good meal, and it’s fine. You eat by yourself, and it’s fine. But if you share it with somebody, it’s another feeling altogether.” – Clea Holdridge, TimeBank Member

Cooking-related offers and requests remain highly popular on the linkAges TimeBank, so we wanted to host an event that brought people together around a mutual love for food. Nearly 100 TimeBank members and community members gathered at the Historic Adobe Building in Mountain View on April 28 for our “Spring into Summer” Cooking Cafe. The event was a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with their neighbors and meet fellow foodies as they learned and sampled summer-inspired recipes from seven TimeBank chefs.


TimeBank chefs were invited to share a beloved recipe that had meaning to them, either because it was a family recipe or a dish they had learned from their travels abroad.There were two rounds of cooking demos and each demo was 30 minutes long.

Cooking demos featured the following homemade recipes:

Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves (also called dolmades or dolmathakia) from Chef Pat Blumenthal

Pat, an avid traveler and foodie, has visited Greece many times and even offers Greek travel advice on the TimeBank!

Strawberry-Banana Kefir Smoothies from Chef Judith Kondo

Guests enjoyed kefir, a fermented drink with many health benefits, in the form a healthy strawberry-banana smoothie. In addition to her TimeBank offer on how to make kefir smoothies, Judith also offers help on urban beekeeping.


Adzuki-Beet and Lentil-Pecan Pates from Chef Patty Evans

Patty was inspired to share these pate recipes by her recent “Holistic Holiday at Sea” cruise, which was a weeklong trip that consisted of talks and cooking classes led by world experts on whole foods plant-based diets.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing from Chef Stacey Urauchi

Stacey, another linkAges advocate, shares this refreshing salad that she learned from her mom. The peanut sauce dressing adds a unique flavor thanks to its secret ingredient: ramen seasoning!

IMG_3240Shanghai Style Wonton Soup from Chef Stefanie Kong

Stefanie is one of our linkAges advocates and enlisted the help of her mom for the demo. In fact, her mother was the one who taught her this wonton soup recipe. Fun fact: To prep for her demonstration, Stefanie and her mom made nearly 400 wontons!

Sizzlin’ Fajitas with homemade Honduran Salsa from Chef Libby Boatwright

Libby learned how to make Honduran salsa from villages in Bella Vista, Honduras where she served as a missionary. She describes her salsa as healthy and full of Vitamin C and veggies. Sabroso y rico, indeed!

Cajun Deviled Eggs from Chef Erica Gibson

Growing up in Louisiana, Erica has developed a deep appreciation for cajun and creole dishes. She was more than happy to share this family recipe with guests, who enjoyed listening to her stories as she demonstrated.

After the demos ended, attendees helped themselves to an assortment of dishes from the community buffet table. TimeBank chefs made extra portions to share so that all attendees – even those who were unable to attend their demo – could try their dish.


In the true spirit of timebanking, guests were given mini cookbooks (featuring all the recipes from the event) to take home, so they could practice the skills they learned and try these recipes on their own!

For more Cooking Cafe photos, please check out our Facebook page.

Time Banks: A Worldwide Phenomena

Timebanks can be found in over 40 countries on six continents, with at least 300 in 40 United States alone. Community, neighbors, support and skills are commonly found themes in time banks wherever they might be. Continue reading

A linkAges TimeBank Thanksgiving

TimeBank Tales reflect the monthly events where TimeBank members and guests from the community come together to share stories, laugh, learn and have fun. With the generous help of community partners, these diverse events help promote neighborly connections and shared interests.

In November, more than 20 of our linkAges TimeBank members and their family and friends, gathered to share a meal together during the week before Thanksgiving. The engaging conversation, laughter and joy of a shared meal reminded all of us how the TimeBank can bring people together in a meaningful way. Continue reading

Connecting Across the Game Board – an Interview with a Successful TimeBank Member

We had the pleasure of speaking with Ruby Heng, who has had great success using the linkAges TimeBank to create a network of friends who enjoy playing board games. She particularly loves board games that are sometimes referred to as Euro-style or designer games and are a combination of random luck and skill, which gives everyone a fighting chance. Ruby calls them “Brain Exercise.”

Ruby’s game collection


Crossing the US on “Ticket to Ride”

To find others who share her passion for board games, Ruby placed her “BrainExercise” offer on the linkAges TimeBank website. Ruby’s offer was accepted by fellow TimeBank members Nikita and Mary, who were interested in learning and playing the games. Neither had played these types of games before, so it was a great learning experience for all. The trio meets at the Sunnyvale Senior Center and local cafés. The simple requirements for a fun session are a variety of games, a large table and willing participants.  Ruby has also offered a service exchange for playing games with linkAges TimeBank Community Outreach Coordinator, Vivian Nguyen, and Program Intern, Dominic Boccaccio. Continue reading

TimeBank Tales: Summer Highlights

By Vivian Nguyen, Community Outreach Coordinator

Summer 2014 was a busy season for the linkAges TimeBank – we launched our Advocates program for college interns, redesigned the TimeBank website, and grew to over 250 members ranging in age from 18 to 92. Together, we’ve completed almost 600 hours of exchanges!

Many TimeBank members meet fellow members (and potential Exchange partners) during “TimeBank Tales,” a free community event that we host every month. TimeBank Tales is a great opportunity to learn new skills, connect with others in the TimeBank community and, most importantly, have fun!

In case you missed any events, here’s a recap of our summer TimeBank Tales:

June 2014: Breathe in, breathe out

IMG_1750We started off the season with a yoga and meditation session led by William Cristobal, one of our business partners and founder of Yoga Belly. Members learned various poses and breathing techniques designed to enhance mental clarity and improve spine and muscle alignment.

July 2014: Learn Bhangra!

In July, our very own TimeBank member, Nikita Maheshwari, led a workshop on Indian folk dance, tbtales-bhangra-facing-dancersalso known as “Bhangra.” Members got to move and shake to basic dance moves seen in popular Indian films. Nikita also offers private Bhangra lessons as a service listing on the TimeBank!

August 2014: TimeBank Trivia Night

2014-04-08 17.20.56 HDRThings got heated during our TimeBank Trivia Night as 4 teams tested their general knowledge and battled it out for prizes. The first, second and third place teams were only separated by a point at the end of 8 rounds! The winners took home gift cards from our newest business partner, Sunnyvale Art Gallery & Café.


Five Exchanges in Five Days

By Autumn Vandiver


I went to Janak’s home. Her dog Dudley wasn’t so sure of me, so he crawled under the sofa and watched me from there. Janak and I sat in her living room, the cool afternoon breeze blowing the curtains, and we chatted about psychology, her life in India, books, her sister, my job as a preschool teacher, loneliness, Harvard University, cooking, my sister, farmer’s markets, our children, and coffee. It was late in the afternoon, so I had to decline her offer of a cup of coffee of my own. We laughed and shared peaceful moments together.

I left and thought of sitting at my grandmother’s feet, listening to her tell stories about growing up in Hawaii and eating mangos with her brother under the mango tree. My heart was full and I sent love to my beloved grandma, wherever she may be.


I went to learn Bhangra dance from Nikita. Just before I left for the class, I received an email that my son’s best friend would be moving to London in a month’s time. I was devastated and thought about not going to dance class after all. Then I wondered, what else will I do with my heartache? Perhaps dancing is just the thing right now. So I picked up my sad feet and I went. I danced with a heavy heart, but I danced. I connected with my body through movement, and I felt the sadness moving through me. I even felt myself smile and heard myself laugh. I let the music and other dancers inspire me. I left feeling tired but strong, and prepared to hold the space for my son’s sadness when it arises.


Louella came to provide my garden with some much needed TLC. She was kind and patient with my slow-to-warm up dog. We sat on my patio, chatting and watering and repotting. We laughed over mutually agreed upon absurdities, like getting annoyed when people have more than ten items in the ten item or less lane, wanting to get better at a new skill without practicing, and rushing the tortilla making process. After an hour and a half or so, Louella left me with a gardening to-do list and we hugged good-bye and agreed that we should set up another exchange soon. Then I spent some time lounging in my beautiful rejuvenated garden reading and soaking up the sunshine.


Christina and I made smoothies this evening. First we made a tropical green one with kale, pineapple, mango, banana, orange juice, coconut water, and spirulina. Then we sampled a berry smoothie with spinach and parsley, orange juice, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and chia seeds. We both liked the tropical one best. We talked about Arizona, making friends, books, introversion and extroversion, and vegan food. I found Christina’s energy and enthusiasm infectious. After she left with a to-go smoothie of her own, I couldn’t help but notice that I was all smiles for the rest of the evening.


Well, wouldn’t you know it? My last exchange of the week fell through. We neglected to exchange phone numbers and switched our meeting location a few days prior to our getting together at a local coffee shop. My best guess is that we were both sitting at different coffee shops wondering where the other person was.

And such is the way of it.

Fortunately, I had brought my book with me. I had pen and paper in hand. The hour was not at all lost. Rather, Friday’s scheduling snafu became a surprise gift of solitude that I gave myself. I sat upstairs at Red Rock café, eating a delicious apricot oat bar, and watched the passersby on the street below. I sipped on my tea and relished the unexpected gift of time to enjoy my own company and spending some time reading and writing in my notebook.

As I reflect back on the week, it feels rich and simple and full. I talked, I listened, I danced, I gardened, I created, I nourished, and I sat. Each day I carved out time to be with another human being, sharing and connecting. Each day was a different, new adventure and I only needed to show up and be open.

I consider the inquiries of others who are attempting to understand timebanking and how it might fit into their lives. Their questions usually amount to variations of How could I possibly fit it in?” Where would I find the time? Isn’t it hard? It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes, the likes of which I have hanging up on my bathroom mirror: “It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be worth it.”

Timebanking, particularly the way that I have engaged with it this past week, has required my attention, my energy, and my patience. And of course, my time. In return, the connections made during my exchanges have renewed my spirit, increased my energy, and given me a sense of being valued in the world, while I valued those around me.

As I complete my week of five exchanges in five days, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences I’ve had and joyful anticipation for the ones to come.