One of the great joys of doing the 12 Days of Philanthropy project is discovering some of the wonderful things happening in Fresno.
The Fresno Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center is one of them.
Acting on a tip from my editor, I discovered this remarkable effort to help kids who struggle to read, write, talk, listen, remember or pay attention.
I must confess that while interviewing the center’s director, Tom Tatum, tears ran down my cheek.
“I think I do what I do because I see lives changed,” says Tom Tatum, a speech and language pathologist. “Our goal is to make a family and a child whole again.”
“I think I do what I do because I see lives changed,” says Tatum, a speech and language pathologist. “Our goal is to make a family and a child whole again.”
Children come to the center because they aren’t eligible for school services or their families lack medical insurance covering their challenges.
The Scottish Rite saw the need “and had the vision for children,” Tatum says.
About 5,000 children have received care since the center opened in 1991.
Education and concern for children are among the fundamental tenets of the Masonic family, as evidenced by their more than 210 clinics nationwide.
The Scottish Rite Centers have been recognized as local, state and national leaders in the diagnosis, treatment and advocacy of learning disabled children.
Each clinic is philanthropically supported at the local level. This means that people give their time and resources to fund the Fresno center.
The center’s mission is to provide free services to children with language, literacy, and learning challenges.
Any Valley child between 18 months and 18 years of age in need of help can access services free of charge. The center provides diagnostic, advocacy, counseling and therapeutic services.
Therapy sessions are about 45 minutes. Evaluations may require up to three hours.
The center is open Monday through Thursday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
It is located in downtown Fresno at 1435 L St.
To receive services, volunteer, donate or get more information, call the clinic: (559) 498-8393.
Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center