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It's easier to respond to a request

Asking people to mentor can be challenging because we don't always see what we know as particularly unique or valuable to others. We take what we know for granted and devalue our personal experience. How can we make it easier for potential mentors to see their potential value?

Photo of Annie Valdes
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The linkAges Bay Area TimeBank is a community-based service exchange network where members provide neighborly services to one another in exchange for time. Its vision is to weave together a community of individuals, organizations, and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area who honor dignity, choice, and independence of all people across all generations. 

What inspires me about the linkAges TimeBank is that people can not only offer services, but they can request them too, which makes it much easier for someone like me (full disclosure: I'm a member of the TimeBank!) to see a request and think, "Hey, I can help with that!"

I experienced this myself during my first exchange. I had initially struggled to identify what service I might offer—Do I teach people how to do what I do professionally? Do I offer my hobbies as expertise? I was over-thinking it. When I looked at the requests for services, I saw small, tangible things that didn't actually require any specialized expertise—a trip to the grocery store, some help in the garden. I ended up helping a neighbor navigate the WordPress website and helping her update images for her husband's company's website. We searched the site's help pages together, and we figured it out side-by-side.

I realized that my contribution wasn't any specialized expertise, it was my comfort with technology and my willingness to explore the site. That day, I gained new perspective on my own "expertise," but more importantly, I gained a new friend.

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