Why Time Bank? 
One Member’s Story

Roberta Nowlin. Time Banker and member of the Threshold Singers. Courtesy photo.

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[July 2020 | By Roberta Nowlin]

Each of us is many things in this life, right?  Here’s my laundry list: I’m an adoring wife, a so so housekeeper, a pretty good cook, a loyal sister, cousin and friend. I’m a teacher, a traveler, a writer and a reader; a dreamer and a thinker. I’m a bike rider and roller skater–oh, and perhaps the most evanescent yet loveliest “thing” about me is that I love to sing. This quality is like water. It takes the shape of whatever situation I happen to find myself in. It is ever flowing, never stale–and often eases pain, brings joy, and expresses deep feeling where words fall short. I share this singing freely with children, adults, audiences big and small, as a soloist, or as one voice among many.

When I joined the Time Bank, in the winter of 2016, I was already an active member of the Singing Sisters of the Shining Mountains– a local chapter of the Threshold Choir. This international organization of women is dedicated to singing for people at the thresholds of life in over 200 communities around the world. Our local chapter usually sings at the bedside of people who are sick or dying. (We receive many of our referrals from Hope West). How to describe this simple yet powerful musical experience? And the uplifting, healing quality when a handful of women’s voices join as one in utter beauty, simplicity, and song for “a friend in need”?

Local Threshold Singers singing “at bedside” for a client, since passed. L to Right: Roberta Nowlin, Ulli Sir Jesse, Juanita Ramsey, Liza Wister and Yolanda Del Hierro. Image, courtesy Ulli Sir Jesse.


As I pour myself into this unique musical crucible of love, I find myself singing in the various assisted living centers around Montrose. Two of them, Valley Manor and The Homestead, are themselves members of the Time Bank. How about that! So each time I sing for a client at one of these time-banking facilities, I bank hours for myself within the Time Bank.

And here’s the beauty of it. The things that I can’t do for myself, that I am minimally good at –or not at all—are often skills that another Time Banker has and is ready to share. I have called on the expertise of Time Bankers when I needed advice about landscaping, legal issues, my computer, and changing burned out lightbulbs too high for me to reach in our cathedral-ceilinged living room.  I “spend” a few of the hours that I have accrued singing for seniors and put out a request for the help I need. I have never been disappointed!

The variety of talents and skills represented in our local Time Bank is impressive. But beyond that, the hallmark of Time Bankers is their kindness, friendliness and willingness to lend a hand.

What is your special thing? Think community. Think Time Bank of the Rockies!