Making new friendships through TimeBanking

In June, linkAges TimeBank members welcomed the start of summer with a potluck hosted by one of their fellow members, Wendy.

Wendy is a retired home economics teacher who lives in Mountain View with her dog, Amber. Nowadays, she enjoys golfing, playing bridge, travelling and making new friends through the TimeBank. In fact, one of the main reasons why the TimeBank appealed to her was the opportunity to meet new people and exchange skills.

“I first heard about the linkAges TimeBank at El Camino YMCA, and I thought it was a great idea and a wonderful way to meet other people,” said Wendy. “I have a lot of skills that I like sharing with others, so [joining the TimeBank] seemed like a good way to do this.”

Wendy at red rock orientation
Wendy at her linkAges TimeBank orientation

Since she joined the TimeBank in fall 2014, Wendy has had many opportunities to forge new friendships.

Through the TimeBank website, Wendy met her first exchange partner, Gloria, and the two discovered that they were actually neighbors. During their exchange, Gloria helped clean out Wendy’s gutters and even offered to properly dispose of Wendy’s hazardous paint materials. In this same exchange, Wendy taught Gloria how to make a perfect pie crust, which is a recipe that Gloria still makes for her husband today.

More recently, Wendy connected with another member, Sidney, who had just moved to Mountain View from Taiwan with her father and sister. Wendy gives rides to Sidney’s father, who is taking ESL classes at a school nearby, and even offered to practice English with him. Wendy was also able to share one of her passions with Sidney and her father: playing bridge.

Besides doing service exchanges, Wendy enjoys connecting with other others at our monthly TimeBank Tales events. She has “caroled for a cause” at El Camino Hospital and brought her dog Amber along for a puppy playdate with other pet-lovers on the TimeBank.

Among her favorite event so far have been the technology days for older adults. As a new iPad owner, Wendy appreciated the opportunity to learn the tips and tricks of using a tablet from younger, tech-saavy TimeBank members and high school volunteers who were eager to share their knowledge with others.

“I take iPad classes at the Apple Store and the Mountain View Senior Center, but sometimes they go too fast for me. I learn all this stuff, and then I forget it,” Wendy said. “Although my technology skills are still limited, I really appreciated how patient the [volunteers] were at these tech events.”

Wendy receiving tech help from TimeBank member, Mark
Wendy receiving tech help from TimeBank member, Mark

After a year of exchanging and engaging as a member, Wendy wanted to give back to the TimeBank community by hosting a potluck at her home.

“I really enjoy having people over,” said Wendy, “I love potlucks because you get to eat so many different things. I always encourage potlucks with my friends because they’re so much fun and an easy way to entertain.”

Over 25 TimeBank members and their family and friends came to the event in June. One member also brought their dog over to keep Amber company! Guests sipped on fresh strawberry lemonade and sangria as they helped themselves to a delicious spread that included chow fun, zesty quinoa salad, vegan avocado potato salad, queso, chili, crustless artichoke quiche, and more.

Wendy and her canine companion, Amber
Wendy and Amber, her canine companion, hosting a member potluck at their home

Wendy’s favorite part of the potluck was seeing old friends, like Sidney, and meeting new friends who are now potential exchange partners.

“I made lots of new connections at the potluck,” said Wendy. “I even got a card from one of the ladies thanking me for having everyone over,”

For additional event photos, check out our Facebook page.

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.

generations

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.

IMG_3238

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.

IMG_3156

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.

cheers

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.

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