Ill. James D. Cole, 33°, SGIG in Virginia, reads to children at Radford University’s “Friendly Faces, Far Away Places” Autism Camp.
This summer 80 children participated in the “Friendly Faces, Far Away Places” Autism Camp, part of the annual Radford University Summer RiteCare Clinic, sponsored by the Scottish Rite Foundation. During a special ceremony that followed in the university’s Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Ill. James D. Cole, 33°, SGIG in Virginia, presented Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle with $33,000 to help sustain a program that has improved the lives of thousands.
This is the 16th year the Scottish Rite and the university have partnered to host the RU Summer RiteCare Clinic and the 20th year that the two groups have worked together with the university to enhance children’s language and literacy skills. To date, the Virginia Scottish Rite Foundation has donated more than $700,000 to RU’s clinic. Because of the foundation’s generosity, the clinic and camp are provided at no charge.
Ill. Cole, who read the book The Van That Dad Cleaned from the confines of a cardboard bus which one of the children’s family members painted and constructed, is pleased with what is being accomplished through the partnership. “We are impressed with what we have seen here today. I thank you for the talent the faculty and students have shared, and I congratulate the parents of these children on the role they play every day.”
“You are walking hand-in-hand with us, helping to educate, and helping to ‘give back,’” Kyle told the Scottish Rite and families gathered for the event. “It is great to see all that is taking place and to know you are delivering educational opportunities for these children and for our students. You are our partners.”
The clinical program is founded upon family-centered intervention. Parents engage in workshops and learn to participate in therapy sessions with their children so they can facilitate their language development long after camp ends.