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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. Nov. 2, 2010) – The University of Central Missouri’s Welch-Schmidt Center for Communication Disorders will expand its base of services to include assistance with early language and literacy skills in young clients through the generosity of the Scottish Rite Valley of Columbia, Columbia, Mo.
Officials from the Scottish Rite Freemasons Valley of Columbia organization and RiteCare Valley of Columbia Inc., the philanthropic organization of the Scottish Rite Valley of Columbia, recently joined university officials in signing the agreement that will establish the Early Childhood Literacy Lab and Treatment Center. Jack Kairy, Hannibal, president of the RiteCare board of directors, made the presentation of the funding to UCM President Charles Ambrose.
In addition, Bill Shansey, personal representative of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Scottish Rite Freemasons in Missouri, presented Ambrose with a gift of financial support from Missouri DeMolay, the young men’s organization affiliated with the Scottish Rite, in support of the literacy center.
“We appreciate the support of the Scottish Rite and DeMolay as they join the staff of the Welch-Schmidt Center in their commitment to serving children with literacy and communication disorders,” Ambrose said. “These gifts will have a direct impact on the success these young people will have as they continue their education. We’re grateful that these groups can come together to fulfill a mission of importance to both.”
“The Scottish Rite Columbia Valley, working through RiteCare, continues to providing educational opportunities for young children,” Kairy said. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to build this partnership with the University of Central Missouri and the Welch-Schmidt Center for Communication Disorders. These are the kinds of partnerships that allow us to reach the goal of helping children with special needs.”
According to Blaine Duesing, interim chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at UCM, the gift will allow the Welch-Schmidt Center to provide additional services to children in the community.
“The Early Language and Literacy Lab is in the visionary state of creation,” she said. “When established, the lab will assist children with language and literacy deficiencies while providing unique opportunities for student clinicians pursuing careers as speech-language pathologists.”
Duesing added that the lab will provide materials and facilities for the identification of children who are at high risk for reading disorders. The new facility also will offer interactive, language-enriched reading material to support an early passion for reading in children preschool-aged to third grade. Parents also will be able to obtain information to the support pre-literacy skills in their children.
The Welch-Schmidt Center for Communication Disorders is an 8,600-square-foot, self-contained unit located in UCM’s Martin Building. Under the supervision of faculty, students in the Department of Communication Disorders provide diagnostic and rehabilitative services to communicatively handicapped children and adults from the community.
RiteCare is an outgrowth of a commitment by the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States to build a clinic for children with speech and language disorders in the 1950s. Today there are 178 RiteCare clinics, centers and special programs operating or planned across the country.
RiteCare Valley of Columbia, Inc. also has established partnerships that have resulted in the development of the RiteCare Speech and Language Pre-school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the RiteCare Early Literacy Lab at Truman State University.