Sometimes lunch can do more than fill your stomach, it can fill your heart.
The Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Learning Center, a tutoring service for young children with dyslexia, will host a fundraiser at the Starlight Chinese restaurant in Airdrie on June 26, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Starlight restaurant will be serving a buffet-style meal, with $5 from each plate going directly to the learning centre. Guests are invited to drop by the restaurant for their lunch, as no registration is required for the fundraiser.
The foundation’s nearest school, located in northeast Calgary, is attended not only by Calgary residents but also children from Airdrie, Langdon, Okotoks, and the surrounding areas, according to Kim Parkyn, the learning centre director.
The learning centre provides tutoring to children with dyslexia, a learning disability that affects how people read and talk. The centre caterers to children ages seven to 16 at no cost to the family, Parkyn said.
The foundation provides families with two one-hour sessions a week for up to three years. Taking place after school, the centre will provide around 150 lessons to each child.
“We have children who come to us who cannot read or are reading at a Grade 1 level,” Parkyn added. “When they leave our centre, after three years of tutoring, they can read at a Grade 12 level.”
According to Parkyn, the centre is “all about helping the children and making the children the most important [aspect] at the centre.”
However, the school’s support does not come free. It costs approximately $80,000 annually to operate the centre, Parkyn said, with rent and training costs taking up much of the budget.
To train his staff, Parkyn uses the Orton Gillingham methodology, which is a multisensory approach to tutoring children with dyslexia. Parkyn certifies his staff after they have spent 150 hours tutoring the children one-on-one. He wants to make sure the tutors completely understand the method, as the centre's main goal is to help the “children achieve their full potential.”
The learning centre is a non-profit registered charity and fundraising accounts for a large portion of the school’s income, Parkyn said, which makes fundraisers like the upcoming Starlight buffet a necessity for the school.
The learning centre accepts donations year-round. Those wanting to donate can do so by mail or online by visiting the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Learning Center website.
For Parkyn, it is important to “be diligent and get out there and raise funds so that we can keep the doors open and keep helping these children.”