The Freemasons, or Masons, are the oldest and largest fraternal organization in not only the United States, but also the world. One of the cornerstones of Scottish Rite Masonry is the dedication to and commitment to volunteering. Like the Shriners Hospitals for Children, The Learning Centers for Children has become one of the Masons featured philanthropic charities aimed towards enriching and helping children and their families.
The 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children are committed to aiding children who suffer from dyslexia. Since 1994, when the Scottish Rite Masons teamed with Massachusetts General Hospital to develop this innovative learning solution, tens of thousands of dyslexic children have received help. This service has been provided at no charge to children who have been diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia. Recognizing that children who have dyslexia have trouble in both the classroom and in peer relations, the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children have provided free, one-on-one tutoring and lessons in both reading and writing. In addition, the Masons have also funded and provided training for teachers and volunteers who want to help. Again, this training has been provided at no cost to the volunteers.
The 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children are now available in 15 states and provide children from aged kindergarten through high school with tutoring. Children are eligible regardless of their income, religion, race or affiliation with the Masons. The significance of the early mediation on the lives of not only these children, but also their families cannot be overlooked.
The pledges made by the Masons in this endeavor include:
-helping children to read, write, and reach their full learning potential.
-helping the families of dyslexic children cope with the guilt and frustration that dyslexia can cause.
-helping communities and towns by building Learning Centers to help these children succeed not only in school, but also in their personal life.
-to provide all funding for the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children.
In addition to the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children, the Scottish Rite Masons Southern Jurisdiction also run 165 RiteCare clinics. These RiteCare clinics provide children who have speech, language, learning and hearing disorders with centers and special programs geared toward enhancing and aiding their learning.
Teachers and tutors who wish to volunteer at the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children receive training to become certified. School teachers can also earn continuing education credits through volunteering with this program.
Children who attend the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children are offered one to one tutoring two times a week after school. The lessons and curriculum are individually tailored to meet each child’s needs. Progress is measured after each session in small steps so that each child can feel good about what he or she has accomplished.
The method of teaching students at the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children is achieved by utilizing and integrating principles of the Orton-Gillingham approaches. This method is language based and focuses on successes. Students are taught reading, spelling, and writing from one logically based progression of knowledge to another. Students move in small steps from simple material to that which is more complex in a logical manner. This method enables the students to learn important literacy skills. This method provides the children with immediate feedback and success as they work from the structure of language to actual reading.
The professional treatment that the 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children provide ensures that children suffering from dyslexia cannot only learn, but enjoy learning, at their age level. The Masons help these children and their families regain their self-esteem and pride through learning.