History of the PSE
Early in 2003, a group of citizens from Antrim, Hancock, Bennington and Francestown began meeting together with The Grapevine to take a look at the health and well-being of people in our towns. The “4-Town Citizen Group” talked about how many people--especially our elders and our young people--are isolated, are not connected to the "center" of the community. We came to the conclusion that the first step in building community health and well-being is helping people to connect with each other, and with the community. In the fall of 2003 we organized free community suppers in each of the towns, which are still going strong.
When the suppers were up and running, the 4-Town Group supported The Grapevine in developing a neighbor-helping-neighbor project, “The People’s Service Exchange.” 4-Town Group member John Vance introduced the Timebanking idea as a natural next step in the community-building initiative. The NH Charitable Foundation awarded seed money for the project, which grew slowly for the first few years and then "took off" in 2008 under the leadership of coordinator Christine Polito and a dedicated group of volunteers who comprised the "Kitchen Cabinet." When Christine's career path took her away from The Grapevine, her assistant, Gerry Chagnon, took over as PSE coordinator. Gerry, who brought to the position a strong desire to help people with her welcoming way, coordinated exchanges until she moved to Massachusetts in the spring of 2011.
The summer of 2011 was a time of transition for the PSE, with consultant Mandy Grenier developing outreach materials and investigating a web-based exchange platform while coordinating exchanges. As good fortune would have it, just as Mandy was finishing up her work, Nancy O'Brien was looking for a way to connect with others while contributing to the community. She has a deep understanding of the philosophy of the PSE and also served as a Kitchen Cabinet member while Gerry was the Coordinator. Nancy's vision is to create a time banking network that is sustainable. Presently, Nancy is building on the work of those who came before her while breaking new ground. During her time as Coordinator, the PSE has gotten a new website, expanded membership and joined forces with other time banks across the world through h0urworld.org. Through that network, members are able to use a software program called TnT (Time and Talents) to connect with each other directly. There are many possibilities for future use within that network and each member is able to share what they are comfortable with and utilize the options to make it work for them. Find out more about h0urworld HERE.