Do you know how cultivate a backyard garden? Replace a flat tire? Speak a different language?
If so, you're flush with what time bankers like to call "community currency."
Time banking is a reciprocal service through which participants earn currency for donating their skills and time. In time banking, one hour of dog-sitting is worth $1 of time currency, which is logged online and and be cashed in for a ride to LAX, help cleaning clogged rain gutters or whatever other service a fellow member is able to provide.
"That is key, because equality of time exchanged is at the heart of time banking, no skill valued less or more, whatever you offer is honored equally because everyone has something to offer," said Maryam Hosseinzadeh, who has lent her own skills to both the Echo Park and Arroyo S.E.C.O Time Banks.
Now, Hosseinzadeh and Echo Park Time Bank co-founder Autumn Rooney are taking the first steps to establish a NELA Time Bank.
Hosseinzadeh said that, though many Eagle Rock residents are already members of the Echo Park and Arroyo S.E.C.O. Time Banks, NELA warranted a time bank of its own.
"Time Banking fits in well with NELA because it already has such a strong sense of community and we imagine that time banking fits hand in hand with that," she said. "It's kind of part of the mentality here."
For example, Hosseinzadeh said that the first Arroyo S.E.C.O Time Bank project, held in 2009, consisted of members coming to her house to help her clear brush away from her backyard in Highland Park.
Rooney added that, as both the Arroyo S.E.C.O and Echo Park Time Banks have grown, she's hoping to establish smaller, tight-knit time banks within constituent communities.
The NELA Time Bank is still in its nascent stages. They are currently building relationships with local community organizations like La Tierra de la Culebra Park in Highland Park and they hosted their first community pot luck in February at Mi Vida Boutique on York Boulevard.
Rooney explained that the potlucks support a critical component of time banking--building relationships within communities.
The Echo Park and Arroyo S.E.C.O Time Banks also host community gardening events, skill training workshops and yoga sessions, all of which are based around the concept of bringing community members together to learn and connect.
"The longer this time bank goes on, the more you realize that people really are trustworthy," Rooney said.