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In April, 2011, Jill fell from a garden bed head-first onto concrete, smashing one vertebra and compressing another. With numerous surgeries and seven months spent in a hospital spinal unit, she was confined to a wheelchair having only minimal use of her hands. Jill knew she needed a key to open the door into community re-engagement. Soon after, she saw a local newspaper ad about the Hutt South Timebank. It was a life-changing moment. Through the network, Jill began to meet locals and make trades. She offered her sewing skills, and time tutoring children with dyslexia. Timebankers donated fabric and helped her with cutting it. She’s now able to sew aprons, tea towels and other items to sell. Through the Timebank she will soon have free access to a registered commercial kitchen and be able to resume another income-generating activity – baking. The timebank has received significant input from Jill, both in one-to-one exchanges and at an organisational level. The reciprocity principle embodied by the Timebank means that small exchanges have enabled Jill to rebuild her life. She’s able to create once more, to earn income and to be connected with, and appreciated by others. As she’s met, mingled and been befriended by her new community, she’s also used her skills to stabilise and enrich it. - Hutt South Timebank, New Zealand http://ow.ly/pz3530a2MXa . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #lifechanging

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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

From the other side of the globe comes a TimeBank story that affirms a basic universal human need: the need to feel that you matter, that you can somehow make a difference in the lives of others. That is not just a psychological need, a need to feel better. It is so rooted in our being, engrained metaphorically or actually in our DNA, that satisfying that need can heal, can restore a damaged neurological system, can embed us in community as a valued member, can generate both social and neurological networks and empower us in that living organism called community. 

So I went looking for definition. In ecology, resilience is defined as the capacity of an ecosystem to respond to a disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly. In a social context, resilience is the ability of groups or communities to cope with external stresses and disturbance that come as a result of social, institutional, political, and environmental damage. 

But the basic concept is even more fundamental because the dynamic it seeks to characterize exists at even the microbial level. Here’s what the definition looks like to microbiologists: 

Seeking an integrated concept of resilience applicable to all microbial communities, the scientists compared previous resilience studies from an engineering and ecological standpoint. Consistently, they found that changes in the microbes’ environment might result in changes to the community’s composition or size but maintained critical functions.”

That’s the heart of resilience:  Maintaining critical functions despite changes in the environment. At its core, TimeBanking provides an ever renewing source of resilience that enables us all, despite changes in our environment or in ourselves, to maintain critical functions. And the most critical function that TimeBanking enables us to retain is the capacity to create moments that have meaning and the capacity to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Wherever there is Timebanking, resilience abounds.