Example of Betty, City of Seattle, USA
07 / 1998
Fremont Time didn’t save Betty Davisson’s life. She had to do that herself. But it did help her restore the shower in her West Seattle home, and at the age of 75 with no cash, multiple health problems, and the need and will to keep working, the ability to take a shower in dignified privacy is no small thing. The last five years have been a long haul for Betty. " In 1990 I was near death " she says. " My body was in total pain. I had hypothyroid symptoms and arthritis. Finally, I became bed-ridden and had to stop working. I sunk into depression ". Betty’s mystifying deterioration took her from one medical specialist to the next with no improvement, exhausting her hope and her savings. Eventually her symptoms were identified as toxic and allergic reactions to the mercury amalgam fillings in her teeth, and Betty began the daunting process of detoxifying her body and reclaiming a productive life. Fixing the bathroom shower, which had been out of commission for nearly 20 years, seemed like a goal beyond reach. The general conditions of her house and yard had also gotten out of hand for Betty who lives alone. " I had all these things that needed doing and my finances were zilch " she says. While looking through the Puget Consumer’s Coop (PCC)newsletter last year she came accross a story about Fremont Time and connected instantly with the goals of the organization. " I’d read a lot about cooperative time-exchange and cared about this - the idea of people helping people " says Betty who also felt a kinship with the Fremont community because of the years she and her former husband had spent living near there. She decided to join. The way Betty tells it, the rest happened quickly. A clinical social worker and hypnotherapist by profession, Betty began helping other Fremont Time members make positive changes in relationship, careers, and health habits through hypnotherapy. She also hooked up with a contractor/Fremont Timer who could rebuild the shower, and within six months of joining Fremont Time Betty has continued to draw on her Fremont Time account for sewing services and much needed yard work. Through her membership in Fremont Time Betty has clearly solved some practical problems in her life, but she’s also aware of less tangible benefits. " I’ve met people I never would have met otherwise ", says Betty, " wonderful people. It feels like the first days of PCC ". Betty laughs as she tells of going to the Fremont Time office to find a map on the wall with pins marking the residences of Fremont Time members. She found her pin with another nestled right up against it and discovered that her next door neighbor whom she barely knew is also a Fremont Time member. The location of that pin has meaning that speaks to Betty’s deeply held values about cooperation and community. " Fremont Time creates relationships that are not contaminated by money. You have a common philosophy, a connection with people there ", she says. " I’d be sad to lose that ".
Fremont Time is a volunteer skills coordinating center based on the conviction that everyone has an ability of value to other members of the community. Fremont Time recruits participants, helps them identify and catalogue their skills, creates matches and keeps records of participation wihth points. Anyone is eligible to give and receive services through Fremont Time, and everyone’s contribution is valued equally. It’s tempting to view Fremont Time as a simple service barter scheme. However, the real goal is to "foster positive, enriching relationships". That means the practical exchanges made possible by Fremont Time are intended to be jumping off points for changes in attitudes about what and who is a ressource.
The file was written at the occasion of the participation at the 23 congress"Neighbourhoods USA" in Portland (May ’98).
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