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AYSO Region 76 Shows Support for Public Library

AYSO Region 76 in Beverly Hills, Calif., gave a surprising holiday present to the citizens of the city. With their generous donation of $14,500, Region 76 kept the public library from closing during the holidays.

The Beverly Hills City Council announced in October that it would close all city operations (except public safety) from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3 to help lessen a budget deficit, furloughing all municipal employees. AYSO Region 76's Board Members decided that closing the city's public library during a week that kids are out of school would be regrettable. In a unanimous decision, the Board decided to support the library and help keep it open with a donation of $14,500.

The Beverly Hills City Council voted 5-0 to accept AYSO's donation. For Jeff Pop, the Regional Commissioner (RC) for Region 76, helping the library stay open was the perfect way to give back to a community that supports AYSO. "We've been looking for years to find something to do to help the city. We use the park facilities and fields as well as the schools' [fields], and we wanted to give back," Pop explained." AYSO considers its broad mission to serve the children of our community and we feel this mission is well served by helping to keep the library open. The library is a community resource we all use."

"I was absolutely thrilled," said city librarian Nancy Hunt-Coffey of the decision. "I've never seen a community come together so quickly to support their library, and I've been working in libraries for two decades." Hunt-Coffey said the money was used to pay staff working the circulation desk, the children's and adults' reference desks, a park ranger for on-site security and one manager to deal with customer service and building issues. Administrative staff was also working during that time.

"It's important to show people we can keep a library open," said Beverly Hills resident Lois Hirt, who attended the council meeting and had previously written a letter to the city regarding the issue. "There are people out there nowadays who especially use the library for jobs and creating resumes." Hunt-Coffey added that she felt "honored to be working in such a dedicated community that values education, literacy and its young people."

Region 76 has a history of supporting its community. Several years ago, the Region financed the installation of field lights at the Beverly Hills High School stadium. Recently, the Region made a substantial contribution to the cost of installing a new turf field and running track at the high school.

Region 76's generosity to its community is inspiring and exemplary. Congratulations, Region 76!

Written by Brent Whittlesey, Regional Commissioner for Region 1567 in Los Angeles, Calif.
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