Current Interest

Ground Breaking In Norfolk, Virginia
A ground breaking ceremony for the $3 million addition and renovation to the Old Dominion University Childhood Speech and Language Disorder Clinic was held on May 23, 1996, on the Child Study Center front lawn. The 22,215 square-foot, two-story addition will be built in an L-shaped configuration adjoining the current building. The addition will include infant classrooms, remediation and pediatric research laboratories, consultation rooms, an indoor play area, parent development rooms, faculty/staff offices, and a pediatric audiology center, along with a new wing for the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Disorders Clinic. The Norfolk Scottish Rite Foundation President, Dr. Mark Fravel Jr., 33, presented a check for $100,000 at the May ceremony. Nearly 50 Scottish Rite Masons from the Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News Valleys attended the ceremony as well as the Clinic's three Scottish Rite Fellows. The addition and renovations should be completed in approximately 15 to 18 months.

Disney Channel For A Song In Dallas, Texas
On his way home on a crisp fall day, a Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) staff member in Dallas passed by a display for home satellite dishes from a company called Prime Focus. "I need to call them at work tomorrow," he told himself, making a note of the phone number. He had been looking for an economical way for the hospital to receive the Disney Channel. The next day, that same staff member, Greg Johnson of TSRHC's engineering department, called the company, and Linda Bunch answered the phone. What happened next could truly be described as serendipitous -- something wonderful was found that wasn't sought.

More than 25 years earlier, like so many other Texans, Linda had been treated for polio at TSRHC. So when Johnson called, the gratitude for life-changing treatment years ago poured out. In short order, Linda organized the efforts of co-workers and business friends to put together a package that enabled TSRHC patients to watch Mickey and Minnie at very little cost to the hospital.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient Bradley Fine (age 13), Mickey Mouse and Linda Bunch, a former TSRHC patient, who worked out a special arrangement to bring the Disney Channel to the hospital.

Employees at Prime Focus took up a collection to purchase hardware required for the new system's installation, and they installed it for free. One of the company's vendors, DSI, donated the much-needed satellite dish. And when the Disney Channel became aware that the hospital provides care to children at no charge, they too came through and offered specially priced services. "It's such a special and typical Texas Scottish Rite Hospital kind of story," according to Anna Ramey, TSRHC vice president and director of development. Congratulations to all, Mickey too!

Sing For Me
If we all could learn to speak in songs, Kara would be happy. This six-year-old loves to sing along to her favorite Disney movies, TV commercials, or nursery rhymes. The words may not always be recognizable, but the tune usually is.

Michelle Kirkbride, Graduate Clinician, University of North Colorado, and Kara's great grandmother, Rayme Bissell, give six-year-old Kara Piscitella encouragement as she works on a computer at the Cheyenne, Wyoming, Scottish Rite Clinic.

Kara was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can result in speech-language problems as well as other potential disabilities. She first came to the attention of Wyoming Masons when her family was trying to get orthopedic help. She has made many visits to the Shrine Hospital in Salt Lake City. At first, she just scooted around on the floor. Now, she is up and running around without her braces.

In January of 1995, her great grandmother contacted the Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and asked to have Kara tested. She was quiet her first visit, but that changed quickly. Today, Kara loves to talk to everyone. She is using more sentences and becoming easier to understand.

The first step in the learning process began with helping Kara to learn rules. As her grandmother says, "Kara can be a troll." She tests limits and requires consistent rules. But she now sees the clinic as her other school and looks forward to her visits. Kara's favorite activities are ones involving singing and popcorn. If only we all spoke in songs!

The above article was contributed by Carole Martin, CCC-A/SLP Director/Clinician, Cheyenne Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders.

Grant Benefits Scottish Rite In Texas
In December 1996, Bro. Charles E. Seay, 32, K.C.C.H., and his wife, Sarah (Sadie) M., generous benefactors of the Scottish Rite in the past, delivered a $6 million holiday gift to be divided equally by three medical facilities: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC), Southwestern Medical Foundation for the benefit of the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Children's Medical Center of Dallas. The grant will establish the first center shared by the three facilities. In particular, the center will support the work of pediatric orthopedic specialist Karl Rathjen, M.D., and his colleagues. Together, they will provide orthopedic services at TSRHC, emergency orthopedic care at Children's Medical Center, and pediatric orthopedic research at UT Southwestern and TSRHC.

Upon hearing of the grant, Dr. Rathjen expressed his gratitude to the Seays saying, "I am especially excited that your gift specifically addresses an area of orthopedics that has, until recently, been somewhat underserved in Dallas. I look forward to helping develop the level of care and research in acute pediatric orthopedics to match the level of work that has been done in non-acute pediatric orthopedics at Texas Scottish Rite and UT Southwestern in the past."

Similarly, all Scottish Rite Freemasons express their thanks to the Seays for this most recent and very important contribution to Scottish Rite philanthropy.

Bikes For Kids Program In Duluth, Minnesota
Brother John W. O'Neill, 32, pictured right inspecting donated bikes, is part of a group of Scottish Rite Brethren who meet every Tuesday at 10:00 am at the Scottish Rite Temple of Duluth, Minnesota, for coffee, rolls, and conversation. Then they set to work repairing and reconditioning donated bicycles to be given to area children each spring. It's the "Bikes for Kids" program started two years ago by Bro. Arnold S. Carlson, 32, K.C.C.H., in cooperation with the Salvation Army. Originally, the crew's goal was to have 50 bikes ready by this spring, but after an item about the program appeared in a local publication, the December 1996 Budgeteer, the Temple's phone has not stopped ringing. Now over 100 bikes have been donated, and the Brethren have responded enthusiastically to the challenge. Congratulations, Brethren, on this fine program that will make a world of difference for 100 -- or more -- lucky kids!

Masonic Philanthropies, Second Edition
Five years ago, the Southern and Northern Masonic Jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite cosponsored the publication of Masonic Philanthropies: A Tradition of Caring, one of modern Masonry's most popular books. Now, Ill. S. Brent Morris, 33, is updating statistics, expanding color illustrations, and adding new sections on charities not covered in the first edition. With demand strong for the out-of-print first edition, this second, expanded version should prove as popular as its predecessor. Plans are to have it available in late spring 1997 from both the Southern and Northern Jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite.

Another Dream Come True In Tyler, Texas
In keeping with a long-standing tradition of concern for others, the Dallas Scottish Rite Bodies have worked to make another dream come true. On November 4, 1996, the first two classes for dyslexic children began in the Scottish Rite Children's Learning Center of East Texas, Inc., in Tyler, Texas.

Attending the Children's Learning Center of East Texas, Inc., Open House were (l. to r.) Brothers Gregory P. Bonham, 32, Robert L. Dillard, Jr., 33, G.C., Homer Kennedy, 32, Earby A. Wright, 32, K.C. C.H., Thomas M. Martin, 32, and Plez A. Transou, 33.

The dream-makers were Bros. Gregory A. Bonham, 32, and Earby A. Wright, 32, K.C.C.H., along with other members of the Board of Directors, Bros. Homer E. Kennedy, 32, Thomas M. Martin, 32, and Ill. Howard W. Sinclair, 33.

In addition to the untiring efforts of the Board, additional support came from Ill. Bros. Sam E. Hilburn, 33, S.G.I.G. in Texas, Robert L. Dillard, Jr., 33, G.C., and Plez A. Transou, 33. Also, having pioneered in the field of learning disabilities, the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children provided technical assistance under the direction of Ill. J. C. Montgomery, Jr., 33, President of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, and Elizabeth Cantrill, Chairman of the hospital's Outreach Program.

The school is free to all children from second to seventh grade with average intelligence (an IQ of 90 or above) diagnosed with dyslexia. It is a non-profit charitable corporation supported by donations that are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS.

The school is using, with a facilitating teacher, the Dyslexia Training Program Videotapes developed by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Classes meet one hour a day, five days a week, for two years. The children are taught the alphabet and dictionary skills, reading, handwriting, spelling, and listening comprehension. Graduation awards will be given to those completing the training at the end of two years.

Wyoming Brethren Share A Wish
Recently, the Scottish Rite Foundation of Wyoming added its support to the Wyoming Make-A-Wish Foundation. This joining of efforts is a "natural" since both foundations do so much for the "Cowboy State's" children. The example of 9-year-old Katherine is an case in point. She has an inoperable brain tumor and is being treated at the Wyoming Medical Center where, coincidentally, her mom and her prematurely born twin brothers were also patients at the time she made her wish.

Country western star Garth Brooks gets a big kiss from 9-year-old Katherine.

The purpose of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to grant the wishes of children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 who suffer from life-threatening or terminal illnesses. "Wish Kids" in Wyoming have asked for everything from puppies and computers to trips and, as in this case, to meeting a special person. Katherine's idol is country western entertainer Garth Brooks. This last August, Garth was performing in Cheyenne. All Katherine wanted was ten minutes with him, but there were complications. Garth's wife was about to give birth, and he wanted to fly home immediately after the concert.

Still, once Garth heard of Katherine's wish, he stopped by Katherine's grandma's house after his show with his entire band and spent not just ten minutes but nearly an hour! In addition, five days after his visit to Cheyenne, Garth arranged to fly Katherine and her entire family to Portland, Oregon, to see his show in person. Informed her medical condition might present a problem, Garth said, "Bring her doctor along!" On the day of her trip, Katherine was sent off in grand style with her teacher, principal, school staff, classmates, Make-A-Wish folks, Scottish Rite Brethren, and neighbors on hand with music, balloons, signs, and flowers as Katherine was hoisted into a Cheyenne fire truck for a special escort to the airport.

In Portland, Katherine sat in a director's chair four feet from the stage action and even had some songs sung to her, spotlight and all, during the performance. Garth Brooks provided Katherine a magic time she will never forget. Together, the Scottish Rite and Make-A-Wish Foundations will continue to provide magic for Wyoming children!

(Special thanks to Max Maxfield, Executive Director, Make-A-Wish Foundation® and the winter 1996-1997 issue of The Scottish Rite Magazine of Freemasonry in Wyoming for this story. We regret to note that Katherine has passed away since the events described in this article.)

Jobies Help Clinic
With the decision of the staff of the Scottish Rite Language Clinic of Twin Falls, Idaho, to offer five different university classes on childhood language disorders across Idaho -- two in Twin Falls, two in Boise, and one in Lewiston -- came the overwhelming task of assembling the 40-page handout packet of materials for each class of thirty students. The faces of the Clinic's staff members fell as they calculated that this meant 1,200 pieces of material copied, collated, stapled, and stuffed into folders.

But Job's Daughters came to the rescue. The members of Bethel No. 56 supplied a never-ending stream of volunteers for three full days. They copied, stapled, and stuffed until they got the job done. The Clinic staff is grateful to witness the truth of the adage "many hands make light work" and the fact that, despite today's negative headlines about youth, there are still many great young people out there willing to help in a good cause.

Junior League Grant
The Bill Wilkerson Center in Nashville, Tennessee, which houses the Scottish Rite Masons Research Institute for Communication Disorders, recently received community recognition and support from the Junior League of Nashville, an organization of women committed to voluntarism since 1922. The $15,192 grant will benefit the Center's Speech and Language Department by developing a computer lab equip- ped to provide therapy activites for preschool children with language disorders enrolled in language classes or individual speech therapy.

At the Bill Wilkerson Center, Speech-language Pathologist Lisa Disser works with two children on a computer program designed to develop their language skills.

The lab will use two Macintosh computers, software specifically designed to teach speech and language skills, and peripherals such as switches and expanded keyboards to help the children access the computers. The lab will also house communication boards for augmentative communication users. These will benefit those clients, their families, and community professionals.

"Everyone is very excited about the new computer lab," says Mary Schaffer, Director of the Speech and Language Department. "The staff and parents know how effective this method of intervention will be, and we are grateful to the Junior League for recognizing the importance of this project and becoming involved."

Louisville, Kentucky, Scottish Rite Foundation Honored
Recently the Louisville Scottish Rite Foundation was presented a Certificate of Appreciation by the Kentucky Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This recognition came as a result of the Foundation's sponsorship of a Childhood Language Development Clinic which is operated by the Kentucky Easter Seal Society. The Foundation was nominated for this award by Becky Dausman, Executive Director of the Louisville Easter Seal Center. In her letter of nomination Ms. Dausman said: "I have seen firsthand the difference they have made for children at the Louisville Easter Seal Center. Many of the families who come to us for therapy cannot afford to pay for all the services their children need. Scottish Rite and Easter Seal work together to make sure that every child who needs speech-language services has that opportunity. Scottish Rite members commit their own personal money to help these children, and they also hold fundraisers throughout the year to support the program. Children across the United States benefit from the dedication and hard work of Scottish Rite members."

The Scottish Rite Foundation and the Louisville Easter Seal Center have been working together since 1991 to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children. Having communication disorders diagnosed and treated at an early age can have a tremendous beneficial impact on a child's life.

Are three-year-old Elizabeth Gibbs and her mom, Betsy, enthusiastic about the cooperation between the Louisville Scottish Rite Foundation and the Louisville Easter Seal Center? You bet they are!

The Scottish Rite made a commitment to children with language disorders in the early 1950's. Working with the Easter Seal Society enables the Scottish Rite to follow through with this covenant. Together, vital programs are made available to many families that otherwise cannot afford all the services their children need.

There are presently 122 Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, or Programs for in the United States. The Louisville situation is unique in that the Scottish Rite collaborated with the local Easter Seal Society to implement the program instead of beginning their own free-standing clinic.

One example of the success the Scottish Rite makes possible is Elizabeth Gibbs, the delightful three-year-old pictured above. Her clinician has been working to help Elizabeth use signing to facilitate her verbal communication. Both means of communication help Elizabeth interact with her family and friends.

Elizabeth's mother tells us, "It's wonderful that she can now express her wants and needs. It's really cut down on the temper tantrums and allowed her to grow tremendously." Elizabeth's brother and sister have also learned to use signs with her, thus permitting their relationship to flourish.

Elizabeth, along with hundreds of others, benefit from the dedication and commitment provided by members of the Louisville Scottish Rite Foundation, the charitable division of the Scottish Rite, which annually awards the Louisville Easter Seal Center $60,000. By making this commitment, The Scottish Rite has enabled Easter Seals to provide over 7,000 units of service since 1993.

First Lady's Book Benefits Children's Hospitals
Proceeds from the sale of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's book It Takes A Village are benefiting several Children's Hospitals. Among those receiving a $25,000 gift was the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas.

Kids Around The Block
September 21, 1996, marked the fourth annual Kids Around the Block information fair, which attracted more than 600 visitors. The fair, co-sponsored by Easter Seals, was held at Reverchon Park in Dallas, adjacent to the campus of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC). The event is designed to be a community resource opportunity where families can find out about products and services available in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for children with special needs in a fun atmosphere.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital volunteer Sue Scott clowns around with young Deshina at the 1996 Kids Around the Block information fair in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to TSRHC, about 50 different organizations participate in the fair. These groups provide important information to parents while entertaining children with games and activities, like playing with the hospital's cheerful clowns or pet therapy dogs from Paws Across Texas, storytelling, puppet shows, and face painting.

"Joining Forces For Our Future"
Typical of the recognition given the Scottish Rite's Childhood Language Disorders Program in many states, the 1996 Louisiana Speech and Hearing Association (LSHA) Convention honored the Louisiana Brethren, specifically the Shreveport Scottish Rite Clinic and Bro. James E. Vanderberry, 33, for their part in fulfilling the Convention's theme of serving America's children by "Joining Forces for Our Future."

During the convention, the Shreveport Scottish Rite Bodies served as sponsor and as the host for a luncheon for students, faculty members, and LSHA officers at the Shreveport Temple on September 29, 1996.

Ill. Ronald A. Seale, 33, visited with Sandra Pruett (l.) and Patti Doody at a recent event honoring the Shreveport, Louisiana, Scottish Rite Clinic.

During the luncheon, Ill. Ronald A. Seale, 33, S.G.I.G. in Louisiana, described the Scottish Rite's longtime involvement regarding speech therapy for children and the commitment of the Louisiana Scottish Rite Foundation to providing scholarships for students obtaining their Master's Degree in Speech Pathology. Representing these programs, the following were in attendance: Ms. Sandra L. Pruett, Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University (LSU), Shreveport, and Clinic Coordinator for the Shreveport Scottish Rite Clinic; Mrs. Pattie Doody, Assistant Professor at LSU, New Orleans, and Clinic Coordinator for the New Orleans Scottish Rite Speech and Hearing Center; and Donna Edwards and Craig Parent, graduate students and recipients of Speech Language scholarships from the Louisiana Scottish Rite Foundation.

In addition, the Louisiana Speech and Hearing Association honored Ill. James E. Vanderberry, 33, retired Administrator, Shreveport Scottish Rite Clinic, with an "Award of Special Recognition" for his "outstanding service and dedication to the professions of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology."

Nashville Center Launches $5 Million Campaign
The Board of Directors of the Bill Wilkerson Center, which houses the Scottish Rite Masons Research Institute for Communications Disorders in Nashville, Tennessee, is spearheading a $5 million capital campaign to expand the center's space capability and endowment. With over $2.5 million pledged, the campaign is well on its way.

The new space will not only include updated and expanded service areas, offices and labs, but will also house conference rooms, classrooms, and a multi-use student facility for study, computer access, and relaxation. In addition, the campaign's success will enable the center to provide endowed chairs for the faculty, fund more scholarships for qualified graduate students, and offset the costs for patients who are unable to pay full fee for services.

Regarding the Speech and Language Department, the client waiting list will be eliminated, and services to children with autism and learning disabilities will be expanded. Also, the Audiology Clinic will be able to see many more patients and be better able to accommodate the cochlear implant program as well as the newly established auditory brain stem implant program.

Trees Mark Start Of Lifelong Learning
Each year, the Brethren of the Valley of Las Cruces, New Mexico, participate in a special graduation ceremony for the children attending the Valley's Scottish Rite's Childhood Language Disorders Dyslexic Reading Program. Recently, for instance, Ill. Eddie W. Ferguson, 33 (then a K.C.C.H.), Chairman of the Program, presented each child with a living potted pine tree along with his or her certificate of graduation. The young trees represent the start of each child's lifelong learning. Pictured above with Ill. Ferguson in the middle of six of ten graduating students are three of the program's clinicians (l. to r.): Kelly Covert, Judy Carter, and Maryann Moore. The Las Cruces Program is in its eighth year, and each year it has had an increase in students, 24 in 1997.

Clinic Cat, Camaraderie, And Coffee Or Apples To Go
The Center for Childhood Language Disorders in Seattle, publishes a lively newsletter titled the kidspeak news which includes news from our Order's Washington State Centers at Seattle, Spokane, Kennewick, Wenatchee, and Yakima. Recent issues featured, among other interesting items, the clinic cat, a golf tournament, and coffee or apples to go.

Willie, feline host of the Seattle Center

Willie the cat is the feline host of the Seattle Center. When one of the children brought Barb McKague, Speech-Language Pathologist, a new kitty, she couldn't possibly leave it at home alone all day. Now each day, to the delight of the children, Willie plays with the center's clients and has perfected pouncing on the computer keyboard and running tape though the adding machine -- when he's not resting from his labors, that is.

Also, a recent kidspeak news featured the summer Scottish Rite Double Eagle Open Benefit Tournaments where Scottish Rite Freemasons from Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Bremerton, and Kennewick promoted a day of fun and sun for the benefit of their Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Programs. While there were no holes-in-one, there were plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, and prime rib along with awards and camaraderie. Nearly $20,000 was raised to support the Washington State clinics.

"Coffee To Go" was the title of another newletter item about Brothers who set up camp in their mobile home trailers to provide cookies, juice, coffee, and apples to travelers pausing at the Nason Creek Rest Stop. Each year Brethren from the Valley of Wenatchee provide this service, and donations, again, go to support their Scottish Rite Childhood Language Program.

Other creative fundraisers include "Apple Day," organized by Bro. Jerry M. Schor, 32, where Brethren host apple stands at Seattle grocery stores and offer perfect Washington State apples for a $1 donation. Congratulations, Brethren, on a fine newsletter and all these great programs that benefit America's children!