Children Among Biggest 'Winners'
An elderly woman with obscured vision can now "see" what others see. Those with limited mobility can now play as much as the rest of them. An important segment of the community has received an invigorating makeover.
Did someone discover the fountain of youth?
These were the themes she used throughout the renovation. Her new purchases include a PowerPlay 500 PL™ desk/blower, point-of-sales system and the installation of Video King's latest handset, Super Champ™. And feedback has been "fan" tastic ... One woman, who was legally blind, had extreme difficulties seeing the paper cards. "With the electronic handset's large key pads," Burns said, "she can now play with ease."
Another had a broken arm, but found it didn't hinder her play. Not only that, but customers are discovering Video King's handsets allow them more time to have more fun while playing more bingo...
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"Before they could play only 12 to 24 cards at most," Burns said of the paper system. "Now they can play up to 54 (electronic cards). They can doodle. Do puzzles. Talk. They're not so stressed. "The machine does everything for you. It even (notifies you) when you have B-I-N-G-O." Burns, who has a lot of varied customers, sees a good mix of young, middle-aged and older players at her hall.
"Since introducing the computers, I've seen a shift in customers," she said. "I'm drawing some younger players. But a lot of elderly, who I never thought would like it, love it. They can play more cards. Their arms don't hurt." As time goes by, she's also picking up more customers – those game enough to try something new. Which is how Burns, herself, got into the bingo business.
"It's a nonprofit organization I set up to help out children," she said. "We fund books, libraries, trips, sports equipment, money for travel, even clothes. Anything that benefits youth."
After the required two-year wait to receive her state bingo license, Burns began by holding sessions one night a week for three years. Then three nights a week for three years. Last year, she began holding sessions every evening. In addition to better equipment, Burns knew she needed to turn the hall, located basement level, into a place where people would want to spend time in.
Sprucing up the interior, Burns painted walls red, removed barriers to make it more handicapaccessible and even installed a chair lift for some of her patrons. To appease the hungry, Burns also runs a full-service kitchen – in a forever-young setting right down to the Betty Boop mural, diner-type booths, jukeboxes, neon signs and black- and white-tiled floors. Her full-menu items range from grilled cheese sandwiches to scallops and sirloins, sundries and cones.
Since the renovations, her hall has done well. However, amongst the biggest winners? The children. Since its founding, LYAF has raised thousands of dollars for various youth-oriented projects, she said.