Giving Children the Power to Speak
Julie DeAngelis helps children to speak clearly. Even those who still want to wear COVID-19 masks to hide their language delays.
Remote learning and the social isolation wrought by the pandemic left many students behind. This is acutely true of children’s language and speech development. How can you expect a toddler to mimic language if they’re surrounded by masked faces?
RiteCare Childhood Language Center of Santa Barbara, founded in 1984, is the only nonprofit in Santa Barbara County offering free language and speech therapy for children.
DeAngelis, director of RiteCare Childhood Language Center of Santa Barbara, says that local pediatricians, psychologists, librarians, and schools are aware of their services, but the need is greater than their small staff can support.
“We have developed all these amazing programs based on the needs in our community,” DeAngelis says. “The school system has strict parameters on who can qualify. So many children might still need therapy, but they are not qualifying based on the parameters.”
This is where the center fills that gap, specifically with a focus on the preschool years, with other programs for older children.
Housed in the historic Masonic Temple in Santa Barbara, RiteCare Childhood Language Center of Santa Barbara typically treats over 100 patients a year with extensive private speech and language therapy supported by three programs to augment those efforts: Camp Chit Chat, a socially interactive camp for preschool-age children with mild to moderate speech and language delays; Brain Lab, an after-school literacy program for students from first grade through sixth grade; and Super Brains, a small group of kindergarten through first-grade children that works on social skills.
The nonprofit measures success by clear speech. This essential ability is a struggle for many young children who initially arrive at the center having to repeat themselves to be understood, or turn to others to interpret for them. Sometimes, DeAngelis says, parents bring a child to the center who isn’t talking at all.
The best stories end on graduation day, she says, when that same student won’t stop talking.
Executive Vice President: Arthur Salazar
Help children find their voice. The California Scottish Rite Foundation is dedicated to support and assist children in California by providing childhood speech-language, literacy and education programs for a lifetime of improved communication and confidence.
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Santa Barbara RiteCare Language Center is an amazing organization that helps children with language and reading in fun and engaging ways, utilizing both gross and fine motor techniques. This success is attributed to their caring staff and unwavering community support. It’s crucial to sustain this center so that all youth, regardless of their financial situation, can access the strong educational fundamentals they need for a thriving future.
A Small Investment Makes a Big Impact in Giving a Child a Voice
RiteCare Childhood Language Center’s ongoing speech and language therapy programs, along with its summertime Camp Chit Chat, are all provided at no cost to the families. They rely entirely on donations and grants to offer these life-altering sessions to those who don’t have the means for private help. With only two Speech-Language Pathologists on staff, the ever-expanding waitlist means many youngsters aren’t getting their needs met at a critical time in their lives.
Just $60,000 would enable RiteCare to hire a third Speech-Language Pathologist, allowing the small organization to instill another 30 children with communications skills that increase learning and make a dramatic difference in their lives going forward.
“It’s our dream to be able to bring on another therapist and help more children,” says Summer Calvert, program director.
Sidney E. Frank Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Roy and Ida Eagle Foundation
Mark & Amy Frank
Scottish Rite – Valley of
Hutton Parker Foundation
Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians
Santa Barbara Lodge of Perfection
David Bradley & Chelsea
American Riviera Bank
King David’s Lodge
Carpinteria Masonic Association
Maurice & Mary Sourmany