Saludos Community Centers

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Business Plan For Foundations and Donors
Saludos is intended to be a model for a new vision of public community centers offering a wide variety of concepts and services designed to bring a community together. Each Saludos Center would have a local Director and would be semi-autonomous. The needs and direction would always be in tune with the local populace. The foundation or donor would fund the basic costs of the building, utilities and salaried officials.
- People who come in the door are called guests and all are welcome. Guests do not have to be from nearby. Guests are never asked for any qualifications. Wealthy people would be equally welcome to take advantage of the center as would those of extreme need. There are four overriding themes behind the concept:

– Anything that can be fun for the guests can be considered. If it turns out not to be fun, we will emphasize something else.
– Healthy eating and activities will be presented. We will downplay processed foods and concentrate on healthy snacks like fruits and nuts and beverages such as fruit juices. Donated foods of all kinds will be available for guests. If food for meals is donated, volunteers can prepare it for anyone who is hungry.

– Saludos will be a place where people can come and meet others, make new friends and participate in volunteer efforts of all kinds. People can express their needs and be matched with people who can help them.
Giving and Getting – One of the cornerstones of Saludos is that anything donated will be freely given to anyone who wants it, no questions asked. No one will have to prove that they need a donated item. No credit will be given for tax purposes initially, as doing so would complicate matters. If someone wants tax credit, they can take their donation somewhere else.
Managment - The Saludos facility will require one official person present at any time. This person will be responsible for ensuring order, greeting people coming in the door and answering questions. A cell phone will be on the premises for the official contact for the center. One Director will be in charge. Assistants will be called Deputy Directors and will be in charge when the director is not there. These positions be filled by volunteers.
Operating Hours – The director or deputy needs to open the doors and be on site. There will be a cell phone on site for the official telephone number. The operating hours may vary from site to site. 24/7 hours could be possible, depending on the services offered. It may be possible to be open 24/7 and accommodate people who want to sleep. This could be the homeless among us or travelers on vacation or business.
Eco-Friendly - We will limit trash by reusing real dishes, cups, silverware, towels, cloth napkins etc. which is how cruise ships operate. As examples, salt, pepper and sugar/sweeteners for coffee would use shakers as restaurants do, not paper packets. Napkins would be washable cloth. Tablecloths? Setting an example of ecological principles is one of our goals.

Sponsors – donors may be interested in being sponsors, especially corporations. Sponsors can be promoted at the center and online. No credit would be given for taxes unless the center is register with the IRS as a non-profit. The sponsor could use their donation to the center as a promotion of their company's good will towards the community. One way a donor could participate would be to take on one or more of the recurring expenses of the center, suck as rent, electricity, or Internet service. Donations of all kinds will be encouraged. People in the area would be encouraged to look around their house for things they no longer need or want and would like someone else to have. Nothing will be sold. Donated items will be arranged in sections. We can enlist volunteers to sort out the donations and arrange them neatly for the guests as if they were in a department store. We would want guests to feel we are a small version of Walmart without cash registers.

Donations can include but are not limited to:
Food– anyone can donate any item of food or drink. Snacks, fruit juice, coffee, tea and water will be provided. Everyone will have kitchen privileges. There is no requirement for it to be healthy, although we will encourage healthy eating. Guests can use the microwave, the toaster oven or go to the fridge for a drink or fruit or whatever is inside. People can come in and cook their favorite dish in the kitchen or bring in a dish they prepared from home. You want a hotdog? There are the buns and you just put a dog in the microwave. All the fixings are in the refrigerator. Bags of chips are handy. Someone can bring in some chicken or ribs and cook them on the barbeque outside. A real treat would be steaks. Hmmm, smells good.
Restaurant and grocery resources – we can contact local food businesses about donating quality food that would otherwise be throw away. If requested, we can post signs to identify donors with whatever message they want to convey. Whatever they freely give we will do our best to see that it does not go to waste.
Health and Beauty/Medicine – Non-prescription over the counter medicines can be donated. We can have on hand toothpaste, shavers, make up, lipstick, soap and shampoo for people to take home or to get cleaned up at the center. Medical devices such as wheelchairs, glucose monitors, sunglasses, reading glasses and prescription glasses or hospital beds would be welcome. Maybe someone has a humidifier or a CPAP machine to donate?
Clothing – All kinds of clothing and accessories will be on hand for men, women, girls, boys, toddlers and infants. This includes accessories such as shirts, blouses, pants, dresses, purses, wallets, hats, belts, ties, sweaters, coats, business suits, shoes, diapers. Perhaps your youngest is five years old and no longer needs their baby and toddler clothes and other items. Imagine what good the items would do for that young couple that just had a baby? Maybe you have outgrown those dresses or shirts you wore 10 years ago. They are still in good condition, but you don’t really think they will ever fit you again although you may wish they did.
Household Items – Think of items like couches, chairs, tables, shelves, bed frames, mattresses, dishes, cups, washing machines, dryers, silverware, towels, sheets, barbecue grills, artwork, planters and other decorations. When someone buys a new couch, they usually have a pretty good couch that they need get out of the house. Why not picture that couch being sat on by people who will be grateful to have it? Maybe you have just bought a new painting and you have one too many now. Bring in the old one and someone can put it over their fireplace.

Games/toys – Any games and toys for toddlers through adults can be given. Some will be given away and other donations will be kept on hand. Items can be anything fun from board games, video games, arcade games, pinball, pool tables, ping pong tables, Foosball, stuffed animals, dolls and toys for all ages. There are many old video games and pinball machines in warehouses somewhere that will never be in a pay-to-play arcade. We can set them up for free and the kids can have a blast. Your teenagers are unlikely to ride their Big Wheel tricycle again. We can schedule tournaments for chess or backgammon or pool and keep leaderboards. Wargamers can bring in their miniatures and set up their battles on tables. Kids can bring in their favorite game and find other kids to play it with them
Electronics/Music – All kinds of items may be found at the center. TV’s, computers, cell phones, I-pads, DVD’s, CD’s, guitars and other musical instruments, amplifiers, PA systems, stereos, PlayStations, console video games, telescopes, binoculars can find their way to people who would enjoy them. Often, when someone buys a new computer the old one goes in a closet somewhere. Why not bring it in and brighten up a youngster’s future? Maybe an oldster?
Health Equipment – Treadmills, exercise bikes, weights, stair climbers, Yoga mats, bicycles, skateboards, and small swimming pools can be donated. We can have an area set up with some of the donated items for exercise. We can section it off with a TV with YouTube videos playing. People can come to us like a gym and workout with their friends.
Tools and Gardening – people can come in and get lawn mowers, trimmers, blowers and other equipment for their yard. There could be all manner of power tools, hand tools and things like carpet cleaners and pressure washers. We would encourage people to bring back the items when they are finished using them, but we would not require them to do so.
Laundry – We would give away washing machines, dryers, detergents that were donated, but we would also set up a laundry area using donated machines where people could come in and use the laundry for free. Basically, a laundromat without the coin slots.
Knick knacks and Doodads – Many people have collections of items intended to decorate and please the eye. It may be artwork or cute stuff like a music box. If things these are sitting in a box or a drawer, why not donate them so someone can have the pleasure of displaying them in their home. Many people have Christmas decorations they don't put out. Why not give them away. Stickers can be provided if someone wants to put their name or some other message on a donated item. Maybe your relative passed away and you had a hospital bed they were using. Your message might be a remembrance of your loved one. Think of the good it could do in the next home where someone is faced with the need?

Activities – The key here is whatever is fun and desired by the public will be included when possible. Donated prizes will be awarded when appropriate for contests and tournaments. Maybe we have a talent show and someone donates a restaurant meal as a prize. Activities will become available through donations. For instance, there are many old arcade games, pool tables, Foosball or ping pong tables in warehouses or someone’s garage somewhere. All games will be free to play. Outside, we can have a volleyball net and a small wading pool and maybe horseshoes. Kids can have an outdoor play area. Outdoor activities would be limited only by our imagination. If we have good weather, we can throw outdoor parties.
Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner – While not a restaurant, there will normally be food and drinks on hand. Anyone who wants to use the kitchen facilities can fix food for themselves and others. Hours can be adjusted so we can have people stop before, during or after work. We might set hours to be open at 6:00 AM. Closing time will depend on experience. Perhaps some centers will be open 24/7 if doing so meets some needs. I could see a bunch of people stopping in before work for a cup of coffee and a sweet roll and chatting with their friends. Maybe someone scrambles some eggs and microwaves some bacon. It is a dream of freedom unleashed and unshackled.
Live music and Comedy Acts – Volunteer artists and bands can be scheduled. Talent contests like American Idol can be staged and judged by the audience. Beauty contests? Game shows? Poetry readings? Garage bands can try out their music in front of an audience. They may be awful or they may actually be quite promising. No one will ever be prohibited from dancing and enjoying themselves.

Karaoke Nights – We can schedule Karaoke using smart TV YouTube videos. Getting people to get up in front of other people is a great way to build character even if they don't sound that good.
Art and Hobbies – People can donate art and hobby supplies. Classes with volunteer instructors can be scheduled. Someone may be a talented watercolor artist and would really like to show some folks how he does it. Maybe you would like to sit down with friends and knit socks and caps and chat with your friends.
Games – We would have all manner of games on hand. Donated board games, video games, card games, trivia, pool, Foosball, air hockey, pinball, horseshoes, wargames, role playing games, board games like Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders. Tournaments and contests can be scheduled. Maybe a youngster has a favorite game and needs someone to play it with. You and your spouse may like to play bridge. You come in and say, “Anyone for a game of bridge?” and the next thing you know you are playing with a new couple of friends.
Smart TV's – We will mount smart TVs around the center. Free streaming services like YouTube will provide music for general atmosphere and supplement activities like dance classes and Karaoke. Whenever sporting events are on, we can quickly transform into a sports bar. Imagine cheering your team with snacks and a cold drink and someone just brought out a pizza fresh from the oven. Go team!
Wi-Fi Internet – A good hi-speed Internet would allow our smart TVs to support many of the activities. People who bring in their laptops and I-Pads will find public wi-fi available, as if they were in a Starbucks. We can use donated computers on site for browsing the Internet or for online video gaming.
Weddings, showers, bachelor parties and birthday parties - These can be scheduled. A free facility for weddings would be a boon to some couples. We can schedule any manner of public speaking. A candidate for office may want to speak or someone might have an interesting collection of ships in a bottle. We can cast any PowerPoint presentation or other video to a large screen TV. Birthday parties for young and old are always fun.
Exercise Area – We can section off an area for gym equipment and exercise classes. Safety will be a prime factor. No one will be forced to exercise but seeing others being active is a good way to motivate yourself.
Start Up Costs -There will generally be no startup costs for items and activities. All the items listed here can be driven by donations. Of course, we would not bar future centers from being started up with key components already installed. I can envision that any required items would become available in due time.
Eating – People are welcome to bring anything to the center for get-togethers and sharing with others. Any donated items will be free to eat or drink at Saludos or to take home. The refrigerator would dispense water and ice. A coffee maker and a tea maker could provide low-cost beverages. Donated coffee, tea, fruit juices and snacks will normally be available. Sugar and cream, mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup would be on hand. Guests can help themselves to whatever is in the refrigerator and cabinets. Cooking can be done using the kitchen stove and microwave. Barbecue grills can be located outside along with outdoor tables and chairs. A dishwasher would be run by directors or volunteers as needed. The directors would make sure that everything related to eating and drinking is kept clean and tidy.

Bathrooms - Showers, soap and shampoo can be provided for guests who want to get cleaned up. We would welcome travelers as well as the needy. Friends and neighbors would always be welcome.
Matress and Cots – We could section off an area for those wanting to take a nap. We are not a homeless shelter, but we can accommodate our fellow human beings with dignity. Also, some grandpas may need to rest while their grandkids are at a birthday party or playing video games.
Laundry Area – We would want to have donated machines on hand for washing the center’s towels and napkins etc. Guests can bring in their laundry and use the washers and dryers. We would be a laundromat without the coin slots.
Public Health Services – We can schedule volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists and others for health screenings and other public health initiatives. Hair stylists could give free haircuts. Kids and adults could attend classes to help them do better in school, if instructors are willing to donate their time.
The Homeless – While Saludos is not a homeless shelter, it will serve as a safety net for the less fortunate. People can come in and find, food, shelter, get cleaned up and get fresh clothes to wear. A donated business suit would help a great deal for that highly desired upcoming job interview.

Equipment Needed – Although not necessary at startup, we eventually would want to have these things at the center, mainly from donations:
Appliances – Refrigerators, microwaves, ovens with stove tops, dishwashers, water heater, air conditioner, central heat, washing machine, dryer. Food and drink - Kitchen utensils, pots and pans, plates, glasses, plastic drinking cups, coffee cups, metal silverware, salt and pepper shakers, sugar shakers. Smart TV’s – Donations would be nice. Smart TVs would be highly desired for supporting many of the activities. All the needed programs can be streamed for free, no subscriptions needed Internet service – Needed for Wi-Fi and streaming TV Furniture - We would use donated tables, chairs, cabinets, storage bins, outdoor furniture, chests, shelves. Website - A website could be set up for each center so the schedule can be updated online as well as keeping the public informed about the goings on at the center. This would be a central function provided by the foundation. It should be easily updated by the directors and volunteers. It is not necessary to do this before starting up. Operating Costs – expenses incurred monthly would be: Building – Need to lease a location or move into an existing building provided by a Non-Profit. It would be desired to have a free-standing building with a yard for outdoor activities. Adequate parking would be important. Utilities – We would need Electricity, water, gas and garbage pickup at start up. Services such as Internet and cell phone are not essential right away.
Vision - I envision that each Saludos Center starts with an empty, clean building with appropriate utility connections. No remodeling or furnishing would be necessary. The word would be spread through social media, emails and door-to-door flyers. As soon as the donations start coming in, the Director will begin putting the center in order and giving back to the guests. The center then will take shape like a seed that is planted. Every center will be different because of the way that it started initially. Remodeling and improvements would be focused on volunteers giving their time and expertise and materials and would be under the direction of the center’s Director.
Documentation – The development of centers would be documented by photos and videos for the historical record. These would be posted on social media.
Funding – I believe it is essential that a foundation or donor provides the money to guarantee funding the monthly bills. Other donors could provide money for center upgrades such as carpeting or paint. They would not donate money directly to the center. Anyone who wants to spend money can donate purchased items or commodities like food and drink. Perhaps someone would want to donate a brand-new Smart TV or a washing machine would and they would certainly be welcome to do so.
Future Expansion – The name Saludos would be a brand name. Other well-intentioned people would be welcome to use the brand name to start their own Saludos center anywhere. There only would be a loose affiliation of the centers with each other. No center would be legally responsible for the actions of another center. The ideas presented here are simply that, ideas. Anyone anywhere can freely use them to set up similar centers. The name Saludos would be freely given and centers can be named any desired name. There is no central control. The dream would be to have many such centers dotting the planet ranging from major cities to small, isolated towns. People want to give. In many cases, they just need to have a way to do so. It is important that the basic costs be absorbed by foundations or donors so that money to fund operations is never part of the equation for each center..

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