Give and take
Posted October 20, 2010
Photo by Donna Agusti
Lathrup Village TimeBank honors Volunteer of the Year
LATHRUP VILLAGE — Known as the community’s handyman, Lathrup Village resident Cort Storer doesn’t mind getting paid for his work in cookies.
Recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Lathrup Village TimeBank, Storer has provided work for others in the community, such as cutting down trees, repairing a toilet, painting, fixing a bench, tending to a light fixture, moving furniture and building a garden bed.
“There wasn’t any question that he was the person,” said Richard Reeves of the Lathrup Village TimeBank. “To think about the past year and which person embodies the essence of TimeBanking, he definitely was the one.”
“He’s our best and only real handyman who has a lot of time on his hands, and he’s in big demand,” said Kim Hodge, founder of the Lathrup Village TimeBank and a board member of the Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks. “He’s always out there doing stuff. He’s always up for everything. He’s the only person who calls up and says, ‘What can I do now? Who needs help?’”
But the deal with TimeBank is that it’s not just about giving. You’ve got to receive something in return in order for it to work properly.
“I think most people, when they get involved, they really want to give, but one of the biggest challenges is really getting someone to receive some help,” Hodge said. “We’re conditioned to give, not to receive or ask for help. But if we don’t ask for help, this whole notion of the TimeBank doesn’t work.”
For Storer, he’s had someone come out and work on his computer, and another resident who is skilled at sewing fixed a pair of his blue jeans, he said. And then there are those baked treats.
“One lady, she makes dynamite cookies, and that’s the only reason I’m doing this,” Storer said with a laugh. “And of course, there’s the potluck dinner after our group projects.”
Group projects are planned continuously, with a focus on building community while helping others. Most recently, groups gathered May 14 to work in the Lathrup Village Children’s Garden, and again May 15 to help three local families do yard work. The organization is also kicking off something new: It’s offering up classes for groups to benefit from a member’s knowledge. One resident will be hosting a class on Middle Eastern cooking in June, while another will be teaching gift-wrapping techniques. There’s also a perennial exchange and CD swap.
“We’re experimenting with different ways for people to get together,” Hodge said. “We’re doing a lot of different kinds of things to get people to share.”
The organization is great for expanding one’s social circle.
“I enjoy helping people and I feel useful, but it’s also kind of fun — I’ve lived in Lathrup for 30-some years, but I’ve met more people through TimeBanks than I have in my 30-some years. I’m semi-retired, so it keeps me out of the house, which makes my wife feel better. It’s a nice group.”
Two years since its inception, the Lathrup Village organization was recently recognized for excellence and innovation by the Michigan Municipal League. Hodge and Reeves have been instrumental in helping to form other TimeBanks across the region, most recently in Southfield. For more information about the Southfield chapter, visit www.friendsandneighborstime bank.org.
“We doubled in size since last year,” Hodge said of Lathrup’s group. “I think the word is getting out more. I think it takes a little bit of time for people to understand what it is.”
For more information about the Lathrup TimeBank, visit www.lathrupvillagetimebank.org.
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