Sovereign Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33o
No facet of Scottish Rite growth in the last decade has been more heartwarming and fulfilling for me than the expansion and improvement of our network of clinics, centers, and programs assisting children with learn- ing disorders. A decade ago, in 1987, there were 48 facilities or programs in 23 Orients (States) of our Jurisdiction. Today, with every stateside Orient in the Southern Jurisdiction participating, there are 122 facilities or programs serving America's children and, in some cases, benefiting adults with learning or literacy problems.
Also, starting a few years ago, this great Masonic philanthropy was adopted by the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, which now has five Childhood Learning Centers functioning and 23 more in planning. Within a few more years, the goal of the Brethren in our sister Jurisdiction should be reached -- one or more centers in each of that Jurisdiction's 15 Orients. Our flagship philanthropy began in Colorado in the 1950s. By the year 2000, our Scottish Rite outreach to children with learning differences will, almost certainly, be nationwide!
Success has come through service. And who has provided this service? Without a moment's hesitation, I can say every Scottish Rite Mason! The Sovereign Grand Inspector General or Deputy in each Orient has provided outstanding leadership and inspired his Personal Representatives, Valley Secretaries, Board Members of local Scottish Rite Foundations and Brethren in each local community to take up this crusade and to succeed. The articles in this special issue of the Scottish Rite Journal underline that fact. Many Orients are represented. Were it not for space limitations, every Orient would be represented. Our philanthropy is a joint effort, nurtured by the hard work, personal involvement, and financial participation of every Scottish Rite Mason. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this generous and enthusiastic support!
While much has been accomplished, challenges remain. Demand has increased, not diminished. Nearly every Scottish Rite clinic or program has a waiting list of children needing services. As a result, we need additional facilities appropriately staffed as well as increasing numbers of Scottish Rite volunteers and state-of-the-art equipment for analysis and treatment. To learn more about our program, I urge you to read this special issue and to write The Supreme Council (1733 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-3103) for a free copy of a brochure titled "H.E.L.P., Help Eliminate Language & Learning Problems in Children."
The Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Program cannot reach the profoundly affected child who needs highly specialized treatment. But we can assist, often even fully cure, the vast majority of children affected by dyslexia and a host of other learning and speech differences. Note the following directory in this issue. Contact the Scottish Rite facility nearest you for assistance or referral. Today, governmental agencies, under the stress of economic pressures, are being forced to reduce educational budgets. More and more, children who desperately need help are slipping through the growing gaps in society's so-called "safety net" of social services. The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry can step into the breach and make a difference for good.
Recently, I came across a colorful plaque distributed by The Paragon Com- pany of Westerly, Rhode Island. Its text, written by Kathy Davis in 1993, certainly relates to our Scottish Rite philanthropy today -- and our nation tomorrow. Ponder it and your role in helping America's special children.
"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."