Mutual Aid

Posted February 10, 2010 in Blog

After your club has finished the six session Guide, there are many other possibilities for meeting and action.  See these sessions and the ideas below for more opportunities for mutual aid.  (Click here for learning and here for social action.)

Add your ideas below in the comments!

Mutual Aid

Underemployed/Anxiously Employed Support Groups

In some communities, folks who are unemployed or anxiously underemployed maintain an ongoing club to support one another.  Some of the activities include:

•    Sharing information about unemployment benefits, food stamps and other resources.

•    Helping one another network for jobs or think through small business/income generating activities.

•    Brainstorming survival strategies.

Some of the creative ideas from clubs and the wider world so far:

Unemployed and Anxiously Employed Workers Initiative (Indiana) – a great example of folks organizing together.  It is a group of people in northern Indiana who are coming together to help one another in this difficult time of economic crisis. They maintain a Facebook page:

“We usually meet once a week and are currently forming committees to help educate people about such topics as computer use and unemployment insurance, stress management in tough times, and green jobs (just to name a few). So, if you’ve already received a pink slip, or suspect that you may soon be getting one, please join us! The only cost is a small commitment of your time.”

The Pink Slip Mixers Network ( Pink Slip Mixers are hundreds of professional, mid- to upper-level executives who are (might be) victims of the “economic downturn” of 2008. “Our parties are about banding together, networking and bonding with the recently ‘Pinked’.  We share our experiences of why we were let off, what companies are hiring, and the ‘buzz words’ that specific hiring managers want to hear. has gone nationwide.”

Personal Financial Makeovers

The idea of giving individuals special time for group attention is common and can be very valuable.  Individuals simply ask the facilitator to set aside time (20-60 minutes usually) to focus on a particular problem, decision or dilemma.  In some cases, participants share information about their finances or job search or business idea to get feedback.  The facilitator plays an important role in maintaining a tone of respect avoiding unsolicited advice (only solicited advice allowed!)  It’s also important to remind everyone of their commitment to confidentially.

Mutual Aid-Bartering Networks –Time Banks

Bartering—the exchange of goods and services without the intermediary of currency—is the oldest form of commerce.  Local economies, using barter or a local currency as a means of exchange, were the norm for most of human history.  The Resilience Circle Network has developed a one-session introduction to organizing a bartering system or time bank.  It’s easy to set up and can be expanded gradually.  You can download a PDF of this unit at:
Personal Safety Nets.

In this book by Judy Pigott and John W. Gibson entitled Personal Safety Nets: Getting Ready for Life’s Inevitable Changes and Challenges, the authors walk the reader through a plan for developing Care Share Teams for a person in crisis.  The issue can be illness, job loss, or any other of life’s inevitabilities.  The authors make it clear that we all need to prepare for these situations, and that often our loose and diverse networks of family and friends are inadequate for these events.  The book describes ways to handle the stress of caregiving, how to divide responsibilities among group members, set limits, and troubleshoot when problems arise.  Throughout it all the authors emphasize the spiritual benefits, warmth and friendship that arise from engaging in caregiving situations.  The workbook that accompanies the book could also be useful for a common security club considering the idea of taking on such a role for its members.