It's been a great year...

December 21, 2017

 

 

Dear all,

 

Hi! Happy holidays! 2017 has been another fast-paced year at the Dane County TimeBank, one filled with challenges, to be sure, but numerous sources joy and achievement. We’re writing to share a few highlights with you.

 

It’s been another banner year for our restorative justice youth court program. One of the standout moments was Lorrie being selected to receive a Community ChangeMaker Award from Community Shares of Wisconsin. While personally satisfying, this award also represents the culmination of years of groundwork laid by many TimeBank staff members (such as TimeBank founder Stephanie Rearick), board members (especially the late Cheri Maples and Madison Police Officer Greg Rossetti), as well as hundreds of program participants in the form of youth jurors, adult leaders, mentors, and teachers.

 

As the program has matured and evolved, we’ve also seen it go both broader and deeper in its impact. This past school year, Verona High School asked us to implement the program there, the first community outside the City of Madison to do so. At the same time, our very first school based youth court – at LaFollette High School – began experimenting with a new variation to the program.  School staff and partners have begun adapting the youth court model to offer an alternative to out-of-school suspensions, which have been shown to have many detrimental impacts on suspended youth, long after their high school years.

 

Outside of the school context, in our community sites, the TimeBank and our partners - the YWCA and Briarpatch Youth Services - have served more than 1,000 youth through the city-wide restorative justice initiative in Madison, all in just 2 years. Over 80% of the youth that are ticketed in the community have opted to participate in restorative justice programming, rather than going through municipal court, thus avoiding a police record.

 

Since the concept of timebanking has proven to be such an effective community organizing tool, we’ve also been experimenting recently with an approach to delivering TimeBank activities at a more granular level. We call this approach neighborhood care teams. Thus far we’ve made the most progress applying this model in Sun Prairie. Our project there has focused on supporting 10 families of young adults with developmental disabilities through monthly meet-ups and individual matchmaking to support and engage these families in their community. In parallel, we’ve begun to involve TimeBank members in providing much-needed services, such as respite care, companionship, skill-building opportunities, and transportation.

 

Speaking of which, our transportation project continues to help meet a variety of personal needs. Last year, 20 volunteer drivers provided over 700 rides, enabling members to attend medical appointments, purchase groceries, participate in social and cultural events, and obtain medications.

 

In order to support these external community program initiatives, we’re also actively building the TimeBank’s internal capacity. On the technology front, we’ve begun enhancing our timebank software and website features to afford members a more personal experience. We’re in the process of designing an app that links to our website for members looking to access the TimeBank from their mobile devices. We’re working to implement new features, such as notifications, and more personal and engaging profile pages to make member exchanges more efficient and user-friendly. We’re also cleaning up outdated content so that it’s easier for members to find what they’re looking for.

 

We’ve also made strides in strengthening the TimeBank’s finances. Recent grant funding will enable us to add staff to more closely coordinate and tailor member exchanges. We’ve also created our first-ever reserve fund, thanks to the vision and generosity of a Wisconsin-based progressive family foundation.

 

In 2018, we anticipate more enhancements to reinvigorate TimeBank exchanges, offer more face-to-face member events, and improve members’ online experience. Please consider supporting your TimeBank in it second decade of service. Your year-end gift will enable us continue to harness community assets to rebuild the informal economy, and in the process help address unmet social needs in Dane County.

 

To make a secure online gift, please go to our website, danecountytimebank.org, choose the donation amount and click donate.  To give a recurring donation, log in to your account, choose the donation amount, then click donate.  It’s quick and easy! You can also make your gift by check by mailing it to: Dane County TimeBank, 1202 Williamson St., Suite 107, Madison, WI 53703.

 

Thank you for all the ways you support your TimeBank!  Happy holidays!

                

Mary Girard, President - Board of Directors                 

Lorrie Hurckes Dwyer, Executive Director