Plumas Rural Services’ Community Connections…
it’s about time
by Leslie Wall
Plumas County has an innovative, non-traditional program to strengthen families, support aging seniors, and meet the needs of their communities. The program is called Community Connections, and it is based on the international concept of Time Banking.
Community Connections is a membership volunteer program where Members exchange services with each other – all Members and services are equal – one hour of service always earns one time credit.
For example: Mary, a single-mother of three, volunteers to teach Alice, a 72 year old widow, how to get started in scrapbooking and earns two time credits. Mary now uses her two time credits to receive an hour of lawn mowing from Ed and an hour of painting from Lucy. Ed uses his one hour credit to receive help from Steve building a garden fence. Lucy uses her time credit to receive guitar lessons from Carol… and the cycle continues.
Every Member who requests a service is providing an opportunity for another Member to earn time credits. It’s a win-win.
Now approaching their 5th year, there are more than 230 Members county-wide. The youngest Member is 8 years old, the oldest is 91. Together, the Members offer more than 300 different services, including: babysitting, transportation to appointments, housekeeping, sewing, shopping, handyman repairs, and instructions on how to do most anything.
By creating a web of relationships and support between individuals and families who may not otherwise come into contact with one another, Community Connections provides a unique opportunity to address isolation, family stress, and community needs.
In addition to individual Members, Community Connections offers local organizations and businesses the opportunity to become program Sponsors. Sponsors pay an annual fee to support the program and in turn are able to request Members to participate in their activities and events – another win-win! There are more than 30 different organizations participating.
The Community Connections program is a service of Plumas Rural Services a local non-profit agency. Plumas Rural Services has been serving people in Plumas County for more than 40 years and now reaches into Lassen, Modoc, and Sierra Counties. Their wide variety of programs includes the Child Care Payment Program, Child Care Resource & Referral, WIC (Women, Infants, Children) Nutrition Program, CHAT (Child Abuse Treatment), and ALIVE a day program for adults with disabilities.
Funding for Community Connections is provided in-part by the local Child Abuse Prevention Council and in-part by the Archstone Foundation. For more information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Leslie Wall at (530) 283-3611 ext. *818 or CommunityConnections@PlumasRuralServices.org or visit their website at PlumasRuralServices.org