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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Neighbors connect on local 'Time Exchange'

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It’s a new kind of currency. 

Or is it an old kind?  Maybe a bit of both.

The Milwaukee Area Time Exchange allows people to connect online and trade time for services.  It is part of a movement called “time banking” where neighbors not only use their talent to help each other, but also get acquainted and build relationships.

Founder Debbie Davis got it started in Milwaukee back in 2009, and she says the site goes beyond volunteerism.

“Charity is fine, but when we do charity are we assuming that the recipient has nothing to give back?” she said.

The service is especially useful for those who wouldn’t be able to afford professional services or have limited skills or mobility, Davis said.  Users can find services ranging from help in the garden to auto repair. 

And the account is free.

“The big untapped resource here is all of us, and what we have to give to each other,” Davis said.

To keep the transaction safe, the Time Exchange conducts background checks on all of its users, and it doesn’t allow people with criminal records access to contact information.  Davis advises users to meet in a safe and neutral location before meeting at a residence.

To browse the database of services, visit its official website.