linkAges Launches in Santa Cruz

We’re delighted to announce the expansion of linkAges, our neighborhood service-exchange network, into Santa Cruz! The linkAges team has been busy meeting with local community organizations, city officials and community members to spread the word about linkAges and adapt the program to the city’s unique culture. We’ve been inspired by the Santa Cruz community’s positive response to the program and look forward to helping create meaningful social connections across the city.

Santa Cruz Tech Day participantsWe kicked off linkAges member recruitment at our Tech Day for Older Adults event at Live Oak Senior Center on December 5, 2015. More than 30 seniors attended the event, met new people and received helpful tips for using their tech devices. Attendees surprised our team by bringing snacks for everyone to munch on throughout the day. We were thrilled to be welcomed so warmly.

One attendee, Cindy, learned how to use Skype so she can chat withcindy getting help with skype her friends in France. Others learned how to get the most out of their iPads and smartphones from tech-savvy volunteers like Elaine, a history professor at University of California, Santa Cruz. Local community members, linkAges members, and linkAges staff volunteered to teach technology skills, and many friendships formed between the older adults and volunteers.

Since Tech Day, we have also hosted several linkAges orientations at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to introduce local community members to the benefits of linkAges and help them sign up.

Thank you to the Live Oak Senior Center and Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for their generous support and donation of space.

Upcoming linkAges Events

We’ll be hosting more exciting events in Santa Cruz in the upcoming months. If you or someone you know in Santa Cruz would like to join linkAges, go to http://www.linkages.org, click “Sign Up” in the top right corner and use the code sccommunity. Check out our Facebook page for news about upcoming events.

 

Fall Harvest Party

In the latest in a series of TimeBank Tales events, we recently hosted a Fall Harvest Party at the Red Morton Community Center in Redwood City. With the generous donation of this space from Redwood City Parks and Recreation, this event was intended not to only bring TimeBankers together, but also to celebrate our launch of the TimeBank service exchange program in the Redwood City community earlier this year. linkAges members, staff and volunteers all came together to enjoy an afternoon of seasonal food, crafts, games and fun in a festive atmosphere.

finger paintingTimeBank members Kent, Pauline and Wendy volunteered their time to demonstrate some of the arts and crafts they commonly offer as service exchanges to other members through linkAges.

Kent led participants through finger-painting and bottle art craft activities. It was quite striking to see the vibrant multicolored work people were able to create with their fingers– no brushes required! They say that there is a kid in all of us and this was apparent as members joyfully explored the tactile qualities of paint.

wendy pie demoWendy enthralled everyone with pie-making demonstrations, working the pastry expertly into perfectly- formed crusts and adding delicious fillings. Members absorbed every instruction, presumably anticipating opportunities to put the techniques to use in the upcoming holiday season.

 

flower demoPauline, a retired floral designer of 30 years, captivated the attention of several would-be-florists by assembling easy-to-make flower arrangements in mugs. You could see the delight as members created professional-looking arrangements quickly and with limited materials.

Under the watchful eye of game master and linkAges staffer, Dominic, guests tried their hand at ring-tossing and pumpkin-bowling. Under Dominic’s tutelage, members honed their hand-to-eye coordination to Olympic standards. Well, to TimeBank Tales standards at least.

Members contributed a lavish array of seasonal treats that included turkey, pies, salads, dips, cakes, vegetarian options and more. Few times of the year can match the fall for eating well, and eat well we did! There is also something to be said about eating a meal together. One of the earliest linkAges members, Clea Holdridge, captured this perfectly in our What Members are Saying video, “You cook a good meal and it’s fine…but if you share with it with somebody, it’s another feeling altogether.”

Want to get a glimpse of the fun? See the short Fall Harvest Party video here.

The TimeBank Tales program was created to promote community spirit, and to bring members together to enjoy activities and share stories about service exchanges and life in general. We try to select a variety of events that appeal to the program’s diverse membership. In the past we have featured Yoga, Bhangra Dance, Tai Chi and Pilates to name a few. For a list of upcoming linkAges events, please visit our website at https://timebank.linkages.org.

A New Look for linkAges TimeBank

We are excited to announce the release of a newly redesigned website for the linkAges TimeBank.

You will notice the simple design, easier to navigate menus, and more member options to personalize your linkAges experience. At just a glance, you can now view new members, events and groups, and hours in your account. The site is also available on multiple devices, giving you an improved user experience whether you access it from your personal computer, tablet or smartphone.

1. Welcome_New Homepage

Three things you’ll love about the new linkAges TimeBank website:

  • Registration – New members can register using a seamless registration process with shorter steps and just a few clicks.
  • Profile Builder – A step-by-step profile builder allows you to easily add information about yourself to share with other members and start making new member connections.
  • Groups – Connect with other members around interests, hobbies and needs through public and private groups, and support local non-profit organizations in your city.

There are many more features to this new rollout. We invite you to take some time and check out the new site.

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.

A Family Caregiver’s Journey with Meet and Move

Cyndi Mariner is a long-time resident of Sunnyvale and a family caregiver. In this blog post, she shares her experience as a participant and Program Coordinator of the Meet and Move program for family caregivers, sponsored by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and El Camino Hospital.

In the spring of 2014, I was living with and caring for my brother, who suffered from heart problems, and my 84-year-old mother who had suffered from arthritis. She had just been released from the hospital and rehab after a serious case of pneumonia. I was an overwhelmed, stressed out family caregiver who was not taking care of herself. I happened to glance at a local paper, not something I usually do, and saw an ad for a program called Meet & Move. Little did I know, taking the step to attend the informational session would lead to big changes for my life. I joined the group and after just three months, I realized the difference the program was making in my life. I started taking care of myself by exercising more and making new connections. I started “breathing” again, allowing myself to better care for my loved ones. Continue reading

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.

Linking Together for a Greener Tomorrow

One of the most rewarding aspects of timebanking is the opportunity to share your skills with others in your community. From recipe swapping to sharing gardening techniques, linkAges TimeBank members are constantly finding ways to learn from each other through their exchanges.

Now, there’s a new way to learn from your neighbors in Palo Alto. The City of Palo Alto has partnered with the linkAges TimeBank to recruit “Ambassadors” for home utility efficiency and zero waste practices. Trained Ambassadors will be matched up with Palo Alto residents interested in reducing waste and becoming more energy and water efficient. Palo Alto residents can join the linkAges TimeBank to receive energy efficiency and water efficiency services…for free!

recycling

The goal of the Ambassador Program is to help Palo Alto become a more eco-friendly city while creating intergenerational connections to build a strong social support network for our community – another way in which community can use the linkAges TimeBank to bring people together.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities and Zero Waste departments will provide Ambassadors with all the necessary materials and training. Ambassadors will be able to provide some or all of the following services listed below and earn TimeBank hours for doing it!

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Energy & Water Efficiency Services

  • In-home energy and water efficiency education
  • Installation of:
    • Weather-stripping
    • LED light bulbs
    • Hose nozzles
    • Water-efficient faucet aerators
    • Low-flow shower heads
  • Toilet leak detection

Zero Waste Services

  • In-home Zero Waste education on topics like recycling, reusing, household hazardous waste, and Palo Alto’s new Food Scraps Composting Collection Program
  • Removes names from junk mail lists
  • Helps residents prepare for their Clean Up Day appointment
  • Assists with creation of less-toxic household cleaners
  • Assists with food waste reduction

Ambassador trainings are ongoing, and you do not have to be a Palo Alto resident to become an Ambassador. If you’re interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email timebank@linkages.org to learn more and register for an upcoming training.

If you are not yet a member, get started by signing up for a linkAges TimeBank orientation session at timebank.linkages.org.