Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Paradise Says Hello

Incoming email this morning from the good folks at Paradise Center, subject line: Hello from Paradise!

When we don't hear from the good folks at Paradise Center we assume things are going well. Then again, sometimes when we hear from the good folks at Paradise Center it is good news we hear.

Like today's good news.

Recently someone anonymous anonymously asked "What's going on with Paradise nowadays?"

Well, the below excerpt for this morning's email from the good folks at Paradise Center answers that anonymous what's going on question....

Here's the skinny, for you and any of your readers who may be interested:

1.  As of December 18, Paradise Center received two licenses from the Texas Charitable Bingo Division:  a Lessor license and a Conductor license.

2.  We are legally qualified to not only play bingo 3 times a week, but to also operate a bingo business that leases it's business to other charities who can also play bingo 3 times a week.

3.  We've moved into our permanent home at 8109 Camp Bowie West Boulevard.  Our new space is 4500 s.f.

4.  We've moved into our permanent Bingo as well, right next door at 8105 Camp Bowie West, and is 11,000 s.f.  We have 70 tables and 300 chairs.

5.  Our official Grand Opening Night of Bingo is Friday, January 20, 2012 at 7:00pm.

6.  Our regular operating hours will be Thursday and Friday, 10:30am-2:30pm and Saturdays 12:00-4:00.

7.  We are able to accommodate 6 more charities at our location.

8.  We've chosen to make our facility 100% smoke free and family friendly.  We'll be the only Bingo in Tarrant County that is 100% smoke free; Dallas County made smoking in Bingo halls illegal about 5 years ago.

9.  100% of the "bingo workers" will be volunteers from Paradise Center.  We're proud that the people working the Bingo game, the snack bar, etc. are all mental health consumers and their supporters.

10. We are not operating regular bingo on Saturday nights.  We are reserving that night, the most popular bingo playing night, for special events for non-profits who want to do a one-time only fundraising event.  This will also be the night that non-profits who are interested in bingo as a fundraiser, but do not have their permanent license to operate 3 times a week, can put on a one night bingo fundraiser.  The license fee is only $25 and it's an easy way for charities to raise the money to apply for their permanent license.

We've already had one long-time supporter voice disapproval of our Board's choice to use charitable bingo as a way to sustain our charity.  "You shouldn't be subjecting consumers to gambling."  We expect more of this.

But we also expect overwhelming success.

It has been cathartic in a way for many of our guys.  They have been dependent on others for housing, health care, their income, for many years.  To have MHMR take away their safe haven, Paradise Center, was a blow to their own sense of independence.

We know now that what we had for over a decade wasn't true independence.  It was indulgence.  They let us run our little program as long as we did it their way.  When we didn't, they cut us off.

We will not be in a position like that again.  Operating Charitable Bingo is our plan to support our non-profit's efforts for true independence.

It's also how we hope to help other non-profits also.  We know how it feels not to know where next month's rent will come from.  And we know how it feels to wait for that promised donation check so we can pay the light bill.

No more.  We've taken our destiny into our own hands.

And we are excited.

Durango, we want you to come out, look around, talk to the guys.  We are there most all day these days, putting everything where it goes, getting ready for opening night.

Your blog and the support we received from your readers made a huge impact on us.  Just knowing that others cared, people who never met us, helped us to stay the course.  Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you at Bingo!