LATHRUP VILLAGE — When Kim Hodge and her husband exchanged vows last summer, it took a village to put together the quaint garden party in their backyard.
Lathrup Village, to be exact.
Members of the community’s TimeBank, a volunteer swap shop founded by Hodge nearly five years ago, spent hours renovating the space.
“They totally transformed our yard into something beautiful,” a grateful Hodge said of the 20 residents who lent a hand.
It’s a give-and-take kind of organization, where interested residents have the chance to share their skills with others and then glean the expertise of others.
“It really brings the community together,” said Lathrup Village resident and TimeBank co-coordinator Richard Reeves. “You gain trust in your neighbors. You give them the privilege of helping you with some of the things you need help with and then (have) the privilege of helping them with things you have expertise on.”
Cooking, sewing, handiwork, transportation, exercise partners, movie companions — the list runs the gamut of offerings and askings from Lathrup Village residents to other Lathrup Village residents. Giving an hour of service earns you an hour of service.
“We also do group projects and also little training sessions like cooking classes, or coming up, I’m going to be doing a flower arranging class,” Reeves said. “If you go to our website, www.lathrupvillagetimebank.org, there’s a lot of information on there to look at. There’s a video that explains how the whole process goes. To get started, you just need to think of skills that you have that you’d be willing to share, but just as important, think of skills that you would like others to share with you. I’m always hoping for more people to get involved.”
Organizers are proud of the success the TimeBank has seen since its creation. Two years ago, it was recognized for excellence and innovation by the Michigan Municipal League and stood as a model for other organizations like it to pop up in nearby communities.
“Things are going pretty well,” Hodge said. “It’s a fun, active group. We’d love to raise the participation level. We know people come and go when it works for them — our needs and our time vary. But we do a lot of fun things. It’s work, but it’s also fun. We’ve done great, but we’d love to do more.”
Lathrup Village resident Frank Selinsky is the group project coordinator for the organization. Once a month, on the third Saturday, everyone’s welcome to come out for a special project, be it painting a basement or cleaning up a yard.
“It’s very light and friendly, and there’s always something cooking in the background because we always have a potluck right after the work is done,” Selinksy said.
Selinsky has been involved since the organization’s inception, knowing that he had some free time and possessed handyman skills. The best part, he said, is getting to know your neighbors. He said he was struck by a story where someone had lived next door to someone else for 15 years and they’d never spoken once. Selinsky, on the flip side, knows everyone on his block, and thinks the neighborhood is better off because of it.
“I think it enriches everybody’s life and enriches the community — it makes us whole,” Selinski said. “It certainly aids in community awareness and crime prevention. Everyone takes a vested interest in helping each other and looking out for them.”
For more information about the TimeBank, visit www.lathrupvillagetimebank.org, call (248) 424-7455 or email hodgekim@sbcglobal. net.
Call Staff Writer Jennie Miller at (586) 279-1108. Find the Southfield Sun on Facebook at www.facebook.com/southfieldsun.
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