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PR- 369-10
August 26, 2010


TimeBanksNYC Allows New Yorkers to Volunteer their Services in Exchange for a Service in Return

Mayor and Speaker will Each Aid a Senior in the Bronx in Need of a Grocery Shopping Partner

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today launched NYC Service’s “timebanking” program on the Mother Teresa Day of Service, in honor of Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. The timebanking program is an online clearinghouse where New Yorkers can find opportunities to give or receive services, using their time as currency. For every hour that a timebanking member provides a service or shares a skill with another member, they earn a time credit that can be redeemed for services in return. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn  timebanked by serving as a grocery shopping partner for a senior citizen in need of shopping assistance. The program, called TimeBanksNYC, is one of the 40 initiatives of NYC Service – the Mayor’s comprehensive initiative to increase volunteering and direct volunteers to the City’s greatest needs – and is a component of Age-Friendly NYC – a collaboration among the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and the New York Academy of Medicine designed to enhance New York City’s livability for older New Yorkers through 59 initiatives. The Mayor and Speaker assisted in grocery shopping at Key Food located on Mother Teresa Way on Lydig Avenue in the Bronx where they were joined by the City’s Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford and Council Member James Vacca. 

“Mother Teresa inspired so many to perform simple acts of kindness by helping neighbors in need, and that is one of the core goals of NYC Service,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our timebanking program is an easy way for any New Yorker to find a way to help another, and to find someone that can lend a hand during what have been difficult times for so many.”

“Today we’re honoring a special woman who dedicated her life serving others and the NYC Service campaign is a great way to help your fellow New Yorker,” said Speaker Quinn. “By signing up at the City’s NYC Service timebanking program, New Yorkers can give a bit of time to someone who needs it and get something back in return. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Chief Service Officer Billings-Burford for launching this important service campaign on what would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.”

“New Yorkers want to be involved in helping their neighbors and NYC Service has been tapping into that spirit,” said Chief Service Officer Billings-Burford. “Joining TimeBanksNYC is an opportunity for New Yorkers to help each other, with endless possibilities for exchanges. We are encouraging all New Yorkers that want to help a neighbor in need to sign up.”

“TimebanksNYC is an innovative approach to an age-old concept: neighbors helping neighbors,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs. “Whether it’s helping an older adult to buy groceries or teaching a college student to play chess, every New Yorker has something to offer through the timebanking program and I am excited to be a member.”

“TimeBanksNYC offers a great opportunity for all New Yorkers, including seniors, to feel like valuable assets,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. “It is also an easy way to provide support and services to the City’s seniors, many of whom are frail and of low income. Seniors face a myriad of challenges. They may be physically unable to do home repairs and need assistance with simple tasks and TimeBanksNYC members can help. Likewise seniors have expertise that they can share. I encourage people to become members and look for ways to help improve a life.”

“I cannot think of a more appropriate day than Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday to highlight this important new program,” said Council Member Vacca. “Mother Teresa embodied the spirit of selflessness and compassion through a lifetime of caring for the less fortunate, and giving average citizens a chance to assist their neighbors, whether senior citizens or other New Yorkers in need, is certainly in keeping with her legacy.”

There are 12 major categories of timebanking exchange, though service exchanges will vary a great deal, depending upon one’s skills and needs. Specific service categories on TimeBanksNYC include:

  • Arts, Crafts, Music & Recreation
  • Business Services
  • Community Service/Activities
  • Companionship
  • Computer/Internet Technology
  • Education Workshops/Services
  • Errands
  • Health Services/Support
  • Help for Home/Office
  • Repair & Maintenance
  • Transportation
  • Wellness

The program was soft launched earlier this year and some examples of service exchanges that have already occurred include: a professional craft teacher and designer teaching a crochet class for the Manhattan Valley Golden Age Senior Center; a senior who enjoys researching herbs and nutrition sharing nutritional information with another senior; and an artist with a degree from the New York Academy of Art teaching a beginners drawing class for 12 TimebanksNYC members.

To participate in the TimeBanksNYC program, anyone can register and fill out a membership profile on or by calling 311. Individuals will be required to submit three references and participate in an orientation session, either in person or online. Once these steps are completed, individuals will receive an email or phone confirmation that their membership has been activated. Members can then use the TimeBanksNYC database to list the talents and skills they want to offer other members and the talents and skills they are hoping other members can offer them. After an exchange has occurred, the provider of the service records the time credit in the TimeBanksNYC database. A time credit email is sent to the receiver of the service exchange for confirmation.

TimeBanksNYC has opened neighborhood sites in each of the five boroughs to support prospective and current members. TimeBanksNYC representatives are available at these sites to assist by phone or in-person and locations can be found on Members who are not able to visit a neighborhood site can access the same assistance by calling 311.

TimeBanksNYC is administered by the NYC Department for the Aging and NYC Service in collaboration with the Aging in New York Fund and with support from the Visiting Nurse Service.

About NYC Service

NYC Service was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2009 to meet his State of the City pledge for New York City to lead the nation in answering President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. NYC Service is meeting its goals to make New York City the easiest place in the world to volunteer, target volunteer efforts to address the most pressing local challenges, and promote service as a core part of what it means to be a citizen of the greatest city in the world. NYC Service aims to drive volunteer resources to six impact areas where New York City’s needs are greatest: strengthening communities, helping neighbors in need, improving education, increasing public health, enhancing emergency preparedness and protecting our environment.

In its first year of operation, NYC Service engaged nearly 120,000 New Yorkers in a wide range of volunteer activities, from helping with the City’s H1N1 vaccination and education efforts, to providing tax assistance to low-income families, to beautifying neighborhood blocks, to coating rooftops with reflective white paint. NYC Service launched 33 new or expanded volunteer initiatives and the comprehensive website, located at, has made it easier for New Yorkers to find opportunities to make a difference. More than 231,000 unique visitors to the NYC Service website had access to 1,000 volunteer opportunities.

New Yorkers can find opportunities to serve their communities by visiting or by calling 311.

About the Aging in New York Fund

The Aging in New York Fund is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older New Yorkers and their families. Through public-private partnerships, the fund seeks resources to develop innovative service models that address the unmet needs of New York City’s elderly, their caregivers, and the network of aging services.

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