A look at the National Masonic Foundation for Children

A nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1986, the National Masonic Foundation of Children’s (NMFC) goal is to encourage communities to help the young of today become productive, healthy and successful adults of tomorrow. This is accomplished through student assistance programs aimed at preventing destructive behaviors and addictions. Freemasons strongly believe in helping our youth through the immense challenges they face, so that they may grow into leaders of the future.

The flagship program for NMFC is the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program (MMSAP). It is an intensive workshop of, typically 5-8 educators, a “Core Team”, from a school, who learn how to identify, intervene and properly deal with students whose behavior is impacting their success at school. The educators learn the proper referrals for students at risk for suicide, depression, violence and addictions, as well as how to appropriately deal with negative behaviors.

Group discussions, presentations on varying topics and experiential learning are involved in teaching this model, which is a research based program. It is proven to reduce violence, self harming behaviors, addictions, and abuse in schools that maintain an MMSAP Core Team, making these school communities a safe learning environment for all students. Statistics from such schools show an increase in attendance and graduation rates, improved academics and decreased behavioral problems.

Trainings are held in over 30 states and Canada and are supported by Masonic charities. The sole provider of MMSAP trainings is Newman/Stecher International, educational consultants. Any Core Team that has been in operation for at least a year can receive a “Booster” training that addresses their concerns and helps to create solutions through a problem-solving design.

Another program offered from NMFC, is a one day workshop for administrators called “Administrator Academy”. Here the administrators of the school receive daily strategies for dealing with the variety of topics students and teachers are faced with in their day to day lives, such as, teen pregnancies, STD’s, gangs and bullying and many more. They learn how their Core Team helps the school and the administrator do his/her job so that they can see how vital their leadership and support is to the success of their school.

The Life Skills Youth Conference is a camp of 6 days/5 nights that challenges youths between 11 and 16 to understand and develop their gifts, talents and skills. Personal responsibility, respect, relational skills and leadership are worked on through various media and creative approaches. The children are encouraged throughout the experience to provide and receive feedback so they can mark their improvements. The camp is based on a model offered by the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation.

The last program offered is specifically focused on Bullying Prevention. Educators learn the difference between assertive and aggressive behavior, receive information on appropriate limits and boundaries, explore different conflict styles, and get intervention and prevention skills to deal with issues such as anger, conflict, abuse and bullying. Some other skills they will learn, to name only a few are: conducting conflict and anger self assessments, examining the effects of violence on the victims and practicing intervention strategies.

The National Foundation for Children gladly accepts donations in order to continue serving the children who need them most. Acknowledgements of donations are sent in the mail for tax purposes to anyone who donates.