Representatives of the Scottish Rite visited the Fort Hays State University campus today to announce a $10,000 grant to the Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic that will enhance the clinic's ability to serve the community and enrich the educational experience for students in the Department of Communication Disorders.
Hugh W. Gill III, Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Kansas and president of the Kansas Scottish Rite Foundation, announced the grant during a morning news conference and reception on the FHSU campus. Gill was accompanied by Marc Ryan, a member of the Kansas Scottish Rite Foundation Investment Committee from the Valley of Salina; T. Michael Fegan, personal representative of the Valley of Salina; and Donald A. Mahrle, personal representative from the Valley of Topeka. The Scottish Rite Masons use the term "valley" to describe their local groups within the state.
"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® clinics to provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders as well as learning disabilities," Gill said. "The value of this philanthropy has long been apparent as many children across the United States have been helped significantly by improving their speech, language and literacy skills. This progress is a combination of team work from parents, children and dedicated speech-language pathologists from clinics similar to those who serve children in the Herndon Clinic along with the financial support from the Scottish Rite Foundation. The Kansas Scottish Rite Foundation is pleased to be a part of the team in northwest Kansas."
In expressing his appreciation to Gill and the foundation, Dr. Jeff Briggs, dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, noted that FHSU and the college had a long history of providing assistive, developmental and rehabilitative services to the community and the region.
"This exciting partnership with the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, establishing a RiteCare® Clinic on our campus, will allow us to extend services through the Geneva Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and provide language and literacy services to children in need," Dean Briggs said. "In addition, opportunities for our students to more completely develop clinical skills and competencies will be enhanced. It is our hope that this relationship will continue to evolve as we realize the positive impact that the program has on the lives of children served. The philanthropic record of the Scottish Rite is well established, and we are thrilled to enter into this partnership for the betterment of the lives of the children in our communities."
Dr. Amy Finch, chair of the Communication Disorders Department, joined Briggs in thanking the Scottish Rite Masons. "The month of May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, and we could find no better way of celebrating than by announcing that the Herndon Clinic will be designated as a RiteCare® Childhood Language Program," she said. "RiteCare® programs are supported by the Scottish Rite Foundation and are dedicated to providing services to children who present speech, language and learning disabilities."
Finch said the grant would provide financial assistance so that the Herndon Clinic could make summer language reading groups more accessible to children. At present, about 45 to 50 individuals come to the Herndon Clinic each week during the semester. About 10 of those are individuals seeking evaluations, and the rest -- both children and adults -- receive on-going treatment.
"There are approximately 170 RiteCare® Childhood Language Programs throughout the United States," Finch said. "These facilities, like the Herndon Clinic, provide assessment and intervention programs that are individualized for each child. These programs focus on the speech, language and literacy needs of children. Because our focus for children at the Herndon Clinic has been on these same areas, it is a wonderful match to fuse our clinic with the RiteCare® Childhood Language Program. This partnership between the Herndon Clinic and the Scottish Rite Foundation will have an immediate and ongoing benefit for children within Hays and the surrounding area, and eventually this partnership will influence the services provided by our graduates as they seek positions in other parts of Kansas as well as outside of Kansas. These young professionals will continue to provide excellent services to children with speech, language and literacy difficulties."
For more information on summer language and literacy groups for preschool and school-aged children from Hays and the surrounding area, call (785) 628-5366.