A Great Success! Enjoyed by all who attended!

Welcome. Cheri Wubbels–a long-time member, former USE president and current member at large–welcomed approximately 25 members, complimenting them, saying they are part of the core group that keeps USE going.

Our theme was USE at a Crossroads. With issues of Communication and Participation at the forefront, Cheri brought up the common complaint we hear from members these days: that no one responds to their requests for service or asks for services from them.

When there is no response to a request. Here’s a suggestion from active USE members: pick up the USE Services Directory, find the people who perform the service you are looking for, and call or email them until you find someone who can help you. You may have better success that way. At the meeting, updated copies of the USE Services Directory were made available for members to pick up on their way in or out.

If you would like a copy, just email: restonusetimebank@gmail.com, and one can be emailed to you; then you can keep it on your desktop or print it out as an easily accessible reference.

Our First Activity. Cheri started an activity with each person present receiving a paper plate and access to pens on each table. Members were asked to write down the services they offer and the services they need and then to ask around their tables, then circulate around the room to find someone who could provide their service or could use the ones they offered. Quite a few people found success this way!

A secondary goal of this activity was to get people talking to one another and knowing fellow members that much better.

Current officers were then introduced:

  • Kathy Bush, Vice President
  • Alan Krishnan, Treasurer
  • Janet Cochran, Membership Chair
  • Cheri Wubbels, former President and At-Large board member
  • Jim Seret, At-Large board member

Vacant positions were announced. We announced that Lorelei Cheung who has been our president for the past few years has officially resigned from that position for family reasons. She will remain on the USE board as a highly respected and valued member-at-large.

That means that the position of President is now open, as are the positions of:

  • Recording Secretary
  • Community Outreach/Publicity Chair
  • Technology Chair

Anyone who has an interest in one of these position on the USE board, or who is interested in being an at-large member, is encouraged to contact one of the current board members or email restonusetimebank@gmail.com. We need your skills, your ideas and your energy to make USE work. We meet once a month. Come out. Join the USE board.

Alan Krishnan provided a treasurer’s report indicating a healthy bank balance of a little under $2000.00.

Janet Cochran announced the total number of transactions for this past year: about 365 (down quite a bit from past years.) We are wondering why. Are people doing fewer transactions or just neglecting or forgetting to log them into hOurworld? Again, we are asking why this has dropped off, as it feeds into our theme about communication and participation. What are our members thinking? What do they need? How can we increase our communication, connections and transactions? Any and all opinions and suggestions are welcome. Get in touch with us at restonusetimebank@gmail.com.

Perhaps our biggest announcement is that we are working to create a new USE website. We are so very excited about this new development. And we are fortunate to have the pro bono services of a computer technology specialist, Gary Vaughan, who is helping us develop this brand new, up-to-date, user friendly site.

Janet Cochran passed around her iPad tablet for those present to see a draft version of how the website will ultimately look. It is still a work in progress, but we are making headway on it, and hope to see it become an up-to-the-minute location for USE news, announcements, responses, comments and conversation, pertinent information about time banks and other related information. We are thinking and hoping this will be a helpful tool to provide better communication and ultimately more transactions between members.

Finally, we asked members to fill out a survey, which was available at each place on the tables, along with plenty of pens. We asked about our ever-reappearing issue of communication – how we can better connect with members and get members connected to one another – the overriding theme of our meeting. We asked for responses about whether members have smart phones and were glad to see that all but three who were present have them – good news potentially for contacting people who do not use or check email, and for possible blasts of text messages to members at some future point. We are still analyzing the rest of the information we got from the survey while also working to set up our new website, so there will be further work on refining our messages to, and from, our members.

It was also noted that there are quite a few of our members who are having a medical crisis of one kind or another. Not to invade their privacy and publicize their problems, but we’d like to say that we need to keep tabs on our friends in USE and do whatever we can to help them while they are ill or in need and while they are recovering. When someone needs extra help because of illness or injury, they or another member should let us know by emailing restonusetimebank@gmail.com or contact Cheri Wubbels or Kathy Bush, both of the USE Care Committee. That is, after all, a large part of our purpose and the reason we formed our Care Committee.