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Scottish Rite Gifts For Kids’ Speech Therapy Top $500,000

Bob Tesch, the Deadwood Scottish Rite Valley Secretary (right) presents a check for $30,000 to LifeScape CEO Steve Watkins.

With their latest gift to LifeScape in Rapid City—a whopping $30,000—the Black Hills Scottish Rite Masons have given over half a million dollars to help West River kids overcome speech and communication challenges. Their first gift to the program was in 1994, and now the Scottish Rite Children’s Clinic for Communication Disorders at LifeScape impacts around 765 Black Hills-area children each year.

Steve Watkins and Bob Tesch

The $556,266 the Scottish Rite has provided for Rapid City services over the years supports speech therapies at the clinic and in West River schools, homes, and daycare centers through outreach programs. They have also supported communication camps, feeding clinics, and staff training to make sure LifeScape’s speech and language services incorporate the latest research.

Speech-language pathology helps children not only with articulation and receptive/expressive language skills, but also with feeding, reading, social skills, and augmentative and alternative communication. Scottish Rite support also provides continued training for therapists, to ensure they are using the latest research in their treatments. In September, the Black Hills Scottish Rite helped send two LifeScape speech-language pathologists to a Rite Aid conference in St. Louis, put on by the Scottish Rite. They shared the information they learned with other therapists at LifeScape. Another therapist was able to attend advanced training for feeding therapy with Scottish Rite support.

Early intervention with speech and language therapy helps children succeed in school and as adults in the workplace and their private lives. Children who might have remained educationally and socially behind for a lifetime can now lead more productive lives through better communication skills. The support helps cover gaps in insurance and Medicaid funding.

“The Scottish Rite Masons help preschoolers and school-aged children gain critical language skills for more successful, productive lives,” says Tisha DeGross, Director of LifeScape in Rapid City. “These are children who might ‘fall through the cracks’ in the healthcare and educational systems, but the Scottish Rite is there to make sure they’re not left behind.”

Speech-Language Pathology Helps Kids Succeed In Life!

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