History of The London Scottish Rite Learning Centre

  • A little history
  • Some vision and determination
  • A lot of dedicated help
  • . . . and wonderful support from across Canada and far beyond.

In 1952 the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction of Freemasons in the U.S.A. began a Learning Centres Program to help children with language disorders. They now operate more than 250 such centres across the U.S. They are called "RiteCare Centres" and help in a broad range of language disorders.

In 1992, the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of fifteen Northeastern American States began their Learning Centre Program, now called "32nd Degree Masons Learning Centres" with dozens of centres now in operation. They focus entirely on helping children identified as "dyslexic" and use only the Orton-Gillingham approach of multi-sensory, one-to-one, remedial tutoring.

In the late 1990s, the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada investigated both the Southern and the Northern Jurisdictions' models for these programs and determined that unless they gave up a major part of their continuing program of funding Canadian research "Helping solve the puzzles of the mind" (since 1964) both of these Learning Centre models and programs were financially out of reach.

In 1999, after a visit to a Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Scottish Rite in Michigan, and hearing again from grateful and tearful parents and their children as "graduates" from the Learning Centres in Michigan, happy and brimming with confidence, the London Valley Deputy for Ontario and the Grand Secretary of London Lodge of Perfection became a steering committee of two. Their goal was to find a model for a Canadian Learning Centre Program that could be financially supported and directed by the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada without diminishing its record of contributing over ½ million dollars a year to psycho-neurological research, in support of some of the brightest young minds in Canada.

In April and September 2002, a Learning Centre model using volunteers was proposed, accepted, and approved. A Learning Centre was then launched as a Pilot Project, with a grand opening in the Masonic Temple in London, Ontario in September 2003. It began with six volunteer tutor trainees and six children.

In 2003 - 2004, support for this Learning Centre Programme and the Pilot Project in London had come from Scottish Rite Masonic Valleys across Canada. The dollars were very important because the tutoring is provided without cost to the children or their parents, but there can never be a price tag assigned to the tremendous boost of confidence and determination that inspired the committee with every gesture of support that came for this project. Besides the Canadian support, money was sent from the U.S., England, Ireland and Japan. We even heard from a mother in Barbados who was moving to Toronto and wondered if we could help her son who was dyslexic, and asking how far was London from Toronto! GOOD NEWS TRAVELS FAST!