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Bingo Hall Proceeds Benefit Youth

Bingo Hall Proceeds Benefit Youth

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?

Jane Burns has attracted a large ‘fan’ base remodeling her hall ala Elvis, Marilyn and James Dean.
No, but all these changes have worked wonders, ultimately benefiting the youth – of Maine, that is. And the credit goes to Jane Burns, game manager of LYAF Hall, which receives the proceeds from her nightly bingo sessions. In May, Burns purchased new equipment for her bingo hall, which was completely renovated from floor to ceiling. If you like the '50s and the likes of Elvis, Marilyn and James Dean,this is the place you'll want to be.

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...

Ready to hear more...

"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.

The hall, established 20 years ago under various names, is one of three commercial bingo halls in her community. "I worked in the kitchen of the hall for 10 years, and I would see other organizations doing bingo, and thought I could do that," she said. Taking action, Burns founded the LYAF organization in 1999.

"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.


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