Heard on Weekend Edition, CultureShift

Southwest Detroit Time Bank Lets People Trade Favors

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Image credit: Meta Stange

Have you ever heard of a time bank? It’s a group of people dedicated to logging time spent helping each other with no money involved.

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Have you ever heard the old adage, “time is money”?

For the last decade, an organization based in Southwest Detroit has been defying that advice. The Unity In Our Community Time Bank is celebrating its 10th anniversary next week.

Everyone has something to offer, and everyone has needs.” - Alice Bagley, group’s coordinator

Alice Bagley is the group’s coordinator. She gives a really simple description of how time banks work:

If I help my friend paint their porch for two hours I can use one of those hours to get a ride to the airport from someone else or use an hour to get someone to give me a Spanish lesson,” says Bagley. ”It’s a way to circulate favors in the community. Everyone has something to offer, and everyone has needs.”

It’s a bank, but it truly puts the community first. “Unlike a normal bank if you have a negative balance we aren’t going to charge you an overdraft fee,” Bagley says with a laugh. 

On what this type of organization means in a city like Detroit, Bagley says “it’s really based on the idea that our communities already have the things we need. We often think about what we lack but the time bank really focuses on what we have.” 

Unity In Our Community is hosting a 10th anniversary celebration on November 9, 2019.


Anna Sysling, Reporter, Producer and WDET’s Weekend Edition Anchor

Lifelong resident of Metro Detroit and a huge public radio nerd. I work in Production and Programming at WDET.

annamarie.sysling@wdet.org Follow @asysling

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