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32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children
In 1994, the 'brainchild' of a Massachusetts Mason, J. Phillip Berquist, came to fruition and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite began its creation of centers to help children with dyslexia. Phil was a Past Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and one of the most active individuals you'd ever find.* We doubt he ever saw this page as he would have likely told us to remove all references to him because that's just the type of person he was: never taking credit when he'd done something extraordinary. Now, we are pleased to recognize this unique individual, who was also our friend and mentor, for his vision and for his outstanding contribution to the field of Masonic philanthropy.
In four short years, the program grew 'like topsy' in the Scottish Rite's Northern US Masonic Jurisdiction. It was also replicated in the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite as well. You can read about the NMJ's programs at this site and the SJ's programs right here. New centers seem to be opening all the time, thus enhancing this wonderful program filling a very important need.
Since 1994, many children have received free specialized instruction at these Scottish Rite Masonic Children's Learning Centers. Scottish Rite Masons of the US Northern Masonic Jurisdiction have pledged to continue to offer this service for as many children as they can - free of charge. They also provide guidance and funding for other means to defeat dyslexia, such as teacher tutor programs, research, and scholarships for teachers.
This worthwhile program is just another of the many fine charities sponsored by the Masonic family!
From the web site of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite comes this:
A small boy sits at his desk, looking down at his open book as his classmates read aloud. He wrinkles his forehead and squints his eyes but the letters and words he sees are jumbled, twisted and senseless.
He grips the book tighter, holds his breath and makes a silent wish that the teacher will not call on him ...
This child has dyslexia, a common learning disability. He needs help to overcome it before it sets him back emotionally as well as educationally.
* Afterword: When this page was first created, we wrote: "If you ever wind up playing golf with Phil, plan to be betting on the outcome of each hole - with your bet heading off to this wonderful charity!" Sadly, Phil has now departed this life but his memory will be kept alive in the hearts of Masons everywhere. There seemed to be no one who was not changed by his caring concern! His legacy are those countless children who have grown and will grow into adults being able to face the world head-on with an ability to read that they might have never had otherwise. Phil was a great guy and truly exemplified Freemasonry's best virtues. We miss him....
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