Tuesday, January 25, 2011

St. Louis Timebank Brings MORE for All

Grace Hill is comprised of sister agencies, Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers, Inc. (GHNHC) and Grace Hill Settlement House (GHSH). Each is controlled by a separate governing body. Grace Hill Settlement House was founded in 1903 by the Episcopal Diocese to help immigrant families "settle into their new neighborhood" on the near north side of St. Louis. Now it serves neighborhoods throughout the City of St. Louis and St. Charles County with its MORE system.
The Grace Hill Settlement in St Louis is one of the pioneers of Co-Production using Time Dollars. Their Member-Organized Resource Exchange (MORE) now underpins community involvement in 11 neighborhood centers and four health centers. Their involvement in the Head Start program dates back to 2001 when they won the contract to deliver the program to half the city of St Louis, mainly because of their proven ability to involve hard-to-reach groups through MORE.

Since MORE was fully computerized in 1991, service activity by residents has generated over 670,000 Time Dollars which, calculated at minimum wage, would have an equivalent monetary value of $3.5 million.

MORE for all
The Member Organized Resource Exchange (MORE), a hallmark Grace Hill program, has become the organization’s most vital way of engaging neighbors in helping neighbors.
Shaped by community members who build their leadership skills on one of seven MORE Boards, the program can involve everyone – children and parents, youth and seniors. In MORE’s inventive “time dollar” system of barter-exchange, community members of any age can offer a service – whether babysitting or house painting – within their skill set. Hours of service not only help their neighbors, but translate into “dollars.” They can then use “time dollars” to exchange services with neighbors, purchase services at Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers, or buy everyday household items and larger purchases, such as major appliances and furniture, at MORE stores. The exchange builds self-confidence as community members see the value of their work converted into tangible assets.
MORE also operates the Neighborhood College, where community members can strengthen their skills in 40-hour certificate courses on subjects such as parenting education and financial literacy. Like everything about MORE, the curriculum changes when neighbors see a new need arise.

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