A Lifetime of Improved Communication and Confidence for Struggling Children
Ever since its inception in 1984, the RiteCare Childhood Language Center of Santa Barbara (a program of the CA Scottish Rite Foundation) has been the only program in Santa Barbara County offering free language and speech therapy for children. For those unable to afford private language therapy, RiteCare’s speech-language, literacy, and education therapy programs for preschoolers can result in improved communication and confidence that last a lifetime.
Its programs are more extensive than what the public school system can provide, and the nonprofit also works closely with parents to equip them with all the tools and specific strategies necessary for carrying out the skills learned in therapy each week.
“Our services are dynamic and intensive. They’re also very effective, and it’s exciting for us to see how much a child can change once they get the confidence in their voice,” says speech-language pathologist Julie DeAngelis, RiteCare’s longtime center director.
Jack is a recent success story. Just three and a half years old when he came to RiteCare, he could only repeat limited words spoken to him and had no spontaneous language skills other than speaking in jargon. He never talked to anyone at school, always played alone, and wasn’t able to ask his teachers for things that he needed.
“After two months in therapy and working with his parents, he became the star of the group, with amazing language and vocabulary,” DeAngelis says. “He’s really imaginative and does a lot of pretend play, interacting with other kids. It’s just a huge change in his life.”
The Santa Barbara center has also expanded its programs to accommodate reading deficiencies or social skills difficulties that weren’t being fully met elsewhere, creating the literacy intervention program Brain Lab, which is unique among RiteCare centers in California.
“Kids who can’t read well become very withdrawn, not even wanting to do anything,” DeAngelis says. “But once we are able to help them they have this shift in their attitude toward learning and they just blossom. Now they run through the door so excited to share their spelling words with us.”
Similarly, RiteCare’s imaginative and socially interactive Camp Chit Chat puts preschool-age children in small groups to engage in motor skills, social, cognitive, and early literacy and language activities to help them not only keep up with essential communication skills but foster growth as well during the summer months.
“Parents have told us their kids were able to make their first friendships at Chit Chat,” DeAngelis says.
Growth also applies to the nonprofit’s staff. Program Director Summer Calvert recently earned a dyslexia certification – a year-long process that will increase the effectiveness of the center’s programs, as it aligns efforts with the science of reading.
“We wanted to receive specialized training to make our program stronger and help more kids,” she says. “That’s what we’re here for.”
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.
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Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians
Santa Barbara Lodge of Perfection
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American Riviera Bank
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Carpinteria Masonic Association
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