About 5% to 10% of Americans may have communication disorders, and by the first grade, approximately 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders, while a recent study showed that, at the time of the study, “nearly 1 in 12 (7.7 percent) U.S. children ages 3-17 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, language, or swallowing in the past 12 months.”
Speech disorders occur when a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently or has problems with their voice, while language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely or in an intelligible manner.
As the statistics stated above show, there is a significant amount of the childhood population that struggles with speech or language disorders, and many people who do not have treatment or therapy for these disorders as children will carry these disorders into adulthood, negatively affecting their potential for developing and maintaining relationships and succeeding academically or professionally.
It is with these thoughts in mind that the California Scottish Rite Foundation has made its mission to help children find their voice. More specifically, our mission statement is as follows:
“The California Scottish Rite Foundation is dedicated to supporting and assisting children in California by providing childhood speech-language, literacy, and education programs for a lifetime of improved communication and confidence.”
For years, those working with the CASR Foundation have fought to help children find their voice through a variety of programs and partnerships. But we do not only provide programs; we provide programs for free. So many children can benefit from speech-language, literacy, and education programs but simply do not have the financial means or support resources available to them to get the help they need.
It is through our donors that we are able to help fill that gap and provide programs to those who otherwise might be left behind, and that's why being a donor for the CASR Foundation is a choice with life-changing effects for those children who, with our help, do find their voice, and with your help, will continue to do so.
So we’ve talked a little bit about what our foundation does, but we want our potential donors to have the full range of information about our organization available to them. We are proud of what we have done and what our organization has become through the years, so let us start with some history.
An Overview of Our Foundation’s History
The Scottish Rite Foundation was created in 1958, and in September of 1960, a conference was held at Stanford University at which The Scottish Rite Institute for Childhood Aphasia was founded with support from the California Scottish Rite Foundation and the U.S. Office of Education. The focus of the conference at the time was on aphasic children, who left untreated, might well end their days in state-supported institutions and never be able to reach their full potential as adults. The Institute was led by Dr. Jon Eisenson who published many articles in medical journals relating to children’s learning disorders, their causes, effects, and cures.
The Scottish Rite Institute for Childhood Aphasia at Stanford University was the first such facility in the West and one of only two in the entire country at that time. By the end of the 1960s, the program moved to San Francisco State University under the direction of Robert H. Gottsleben where it eventually became the foundation of the university’s current Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.
In 1970, the San Francisco Scottish Rite sponsored the opening of a Childhood Aphasia Clinic through the California Scottish Rite Foundation. It didn’t take long for other Scottish Rite locations to follow suit with the opening of a clinic in Los Angeles in 1977 and Long Beach and San Jose in 1978. In 1981 a clinic was opened in San Diego, then Stockton and San Bernardino in 1982, and in 1984 clinics were opened in Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and Santa Barbara.
The next clinics weren’t opened until 1991 in Fresno, 1996 in Pasadena, 2001 in Orange County, and 2004 in Palm Springs. Then nearly twenty years later after the clinics were rebranded as Childhood Language Centers a new center was added in Burlingame in 2021 and Bakersfield in 2022 bringing the total number of centers in California to 17. Through these centers, the California Scottish Rite Foundation has provided speech and language services to thousands of children over the years.
A Brief History of the RiteCare Language Program
While all of the California Scottish Rite Foundation’s centers are located in California, we recognize the need for language programs across the United States, where children no less deserving of help than those in California can benefit from our life-changing programs. This is why the history of the RiteCare Language Program is so important to who we are as a foundation and what we aim to become.
In the early 1950s in Colorado, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States initiated a program to help children with speech and language disorders. The results obtained from this program led to the establishment of RiteCare Scottish Rite Childhood Language Program (SRCLP) clinics to provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders, as well as learning disabilities.
Today, there are SRCLP clinics, centers, and special programs operating or planned for children and therapists located throughout the United States. Each facility is staffed by speech-language pathologists or other trained personnel. Through the support of Scottish Rite members, these clinics, centers, and programs continue to increase.
The value of this philanthropy has long been apparent. Tens of thousands of youngsters across the United States have been helped significantly. With the good work of dedicated clinicians and parents, the Scottish Rite has achieved successes that could only be imagined a few years back. Children who might have remained educationally behind for a lifetime can now talk, read, and lead productive lives.
As you can see from these brief histories, the CASR Foundation has for many years been a pioneer in providing speech-language, literacy, and educational programs across the United States, helping thousands of children work through and overcome their disabilities that might have otherwise dimmed their prospects for a fully developed life.
Now that we have gone over some of our foundation’s history, let us talk about some of the specific programs that we are offering right now to help children across the U.S.
1. RiteCare Language Centers
Each year the RiteCare Childhood Language Centers in California provide services to over 2,300 children with speech, language, and literacy disorders. The RiteCare Childhood Language Program clinics provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders, as well as learning disabilities. At the core of every program is the Scottish Rite mission to “help children communicate.”
Equally important, all services are available regardless of race, creed, or the family’s inability to pay. And this is where donors come in. The CASR Foundation directs all money from donors to the proliferation, maintenance, and impact of the RiteCare Childhood Language Centers, which have proven successful time and again to help children overcome their difficulties and leave our centers with more confidence, skills, and brighter life prospects for the future. We do not think that an inability to pay should stop a child from receiving the help they need, and we hope that you, the potential or current donors, feel the same way. In this case, there is no question that donations directly contribute to more hopeful futures.
While it is important to talk at length in this article about our RiteCare Language Learning Centers since these centers are made possible by the contributions of donors, it's also important to highlight our other programs so that you can see the greater picture of the foundation and all of the different ways we are involved in bringing educational and therapy services to children in need.
2. University Partnerships
The California Scottish Rite Foundation has entered into strategic partnerships with several universities to ensure that we are able to offer a greater breadth of services to a wider range of children in various communities. These partnerships also enable aspiring graduate students at these universities to obtain the necessary hands-on experience they need under the supervision of their clinical professors so that they can make an immediate difference as a Speech-Language Pathologist upon graduation. We are currently partnered with California State University Long Beach, California State University Los Angeles, Chapman University in Orange County, and University of the Pacific in Stockton.
3. Private Partnerships
The California Scottish Rite Foundation has entered into strategic partnerships with several private practices in order to offer a greater breadth of services to a wider range of children in various communities. These partnerships also enable aspiring graduate students to seek internships at these locations to obtain the necessary hands-on experience they need so that they can make an immediate difference as a Speech-Language Pathologist upon graduation. We are currently partnered with Sunrise A Speech Pathology Corp in Fresno, Speech-Language Learning Associates, Inc. in Sacramento, and Speech Goals in Burlingame, Oakland, and San Francisco.
The California Scottish Rite Foundation offers scholarships for both graduate and undergraduate studies to students who are California residents maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA and 12 units per term. All awards are paid out half in August and half in February of each year of the award.
The William F Stovall Scholarship and the Baldwin Scholarship support students pursuing a Master's or Doctorate Degree in a field of public service such as Public-School Administration or Speech-Language Pathology. The Stovall Scholarship awards $6,000 per year for up to two years and the Baldwin Scholarship awards $6,000 for one year.
The Ruppert Scholarship supports students pursuing an undergraduate degree in either medicine, engineering, forestry, or public school administration. The Ruppert Scholarship awards $3,000 per year for up to four years.
The Lester W Miller Scholarship supports students pursuing an undergraduate degree in any field of study. The Miller Scholarship awards $3,000 per year for up to four years.
The Harry Lister Scholarship supports students pursuing an undergraduate degree in any field of study. The applicant must be a young man who is a blood relative of a California Mason and/or a past or current member of DeMolay International. The Lister Scholarship awards $3,000 per year for up to four years.
So Why Donate to the CASR Foundation?
The simple answer to this question is that donations to the CASR Foundation help us literally change lives. Children with speech and language disorders are not rare, and yet, there are so many children who suffer from their disorders without adequate assistance and resources. A child with a language or speech disorder not only faces severe challenges as a child (and they can potentially face many), but if left untreated these disorders can continue into adulthood, hindering them from reaching their full potential in life.
Just imagine not being able to communicate clearly in a world where communication is the primary way of forming and maintaining friendships, succeeding academically and professionally, and simply expressing oneself in a way that other people can understand. It is from this real possibility for many children that we are trying to help them reclaim a future of expression, success, sociability, and fulfillment. So that is why you should donate to the CASR Foundation.
We will end this article with our foundation's creed:
1. The Vision
We are leaders in transitioning children with childhood communication disorders to realize their full potential.
2. The Why
We serve children with speech, language and literacy disorders by providing the opportunity for free, life-changing therapy to improve their communication skills.
3. The Truth
Speech, language and literacy disorders can strike any child – with devastating outcomes. Many of these children struggle daily with the task of speaking, reading and writing.
4. The Cost
Our services are provided at NO COST to the children & families we serve. Our donors are proud to give, knowing their contributions drastically improve thousands of children’s lives every year.
5. The Commitment
We adhere to the premise that every child with speech, language or literacy disorders should have the opportunity to receive vital therapy from certified Speech Pathologists so that they may lead productive lives; freely communicating with their family, peers, and succeeding academically.
6. The Future
Acquiring these services can be life-changing, providing a renewed sense of self-confidence, and the ability to communicate that many take for granted.
Thank You for Your Support
We thank you for reading this article. Whether you choose to donate or not, it means a lot to us that you have given time and consideration to hearing our foundation's message and mission. If you would like to donate, you can easily do so through this link. We would be forever thankful.