The two families met because of a bank — a time bank, where the unit of currency is not a dollar, but an hour. When you join a time bank, you indicate what services you might be able to offer others: financial planning, computer de-bugging, handyman repairs, housecleaning, child care, clothing alterations, cooking, taking someone to a doctor’s appointment on the bus, visiting the homebound or English conversation. People teach Mandarin and yoga and sushi-making. Castillo-Vélez earns a credit for each hour she spends tutoring José. She spends the credits on art classes.
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