The National Masonic Foundation For Children
is a non-profit, charitable organization supported by Masonic Grand Lodges and
allied Masonic organizations created to establish programs, particularly
"Masonic Model" Student Assistance Training programs in schools, which will
help youth lead productive, useful, and healthy lives.
The Foundation builds on Freemasonry's
centuries-old tradition of helping the most vulnerable in our society. Today,
more than ever, children need help in becoming responsible adults as they face
countless challenges: broken homes, patterns of substance abuse in families,
and a complex world with many traditional nurturing institutions shaken.
Freemasons are sensitive to the fundamental belief that children are our
future. We cannot neglect the needs of today's children if we expect them to
grow up to be happy, healthy, productive stewards of our future.
Every year addiction claims younger victims.
And there are the tragedies associated with addiction, such as suicide (a
leading cause of death among adolescents), pregnancy (more than a million
teenage girls become pregnant each year), violence, physical and sexual child
abuse, homicide, depression, tragedy on the highways, mental and physical
illness, birth defects, and on and on. Everyone is being called on to help
confront these addiction-associated tragedies and the Foundation is
Freemasonry's contribution to this vital effort. In 1987, the Foundation
opened its offices near the White House in Washington, DC and works through
and with individual Grand Lodges to establish substance abuse programs
designed to reach young people. In certain circumstances, the Foundation also
works with state government and education officials, prevention professionals,
health systems, and the general public to help foster addiction prevention
The Foundation's long-term goals involve
organizing prevention programs in all 50 States, and Canada and Europe, and to
communicating the success of these programs. By publicizing the positive
results, the Foundation hopes to stimulate further community action.
The "Masonic Model" Student Assistance
Training programs originated in the early
1980's. "Masonic Model" programs train a core group of five to seven educators
(administrators, teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors, etc.) from an
individual school in how to identify those children most likely to succumb to
addiction and in how to successfully intervene to help these young people. The
intensive training, which usually lasts from three to five days, involves
practice sessions designed to simulate real events, along with presentations
on such subjects as "Characteristics of an Addictive Family, "Pharmacological
Effects of Drugs," "Creating a Crisis Response Team," etc.
Experience with schools with "Masonic Model"
trained teams in place shows that most children who are identified as
potentially at-risk, or who are in the early stages of addiction, can be
successfully steered away from the addictive cycle. The prevention approach
works. Freemasons contribute in a number of ways. Grand Lodges may provide
initial organizational and community guidance, or financial support and
materials. Individual Lodges may supply meeting space, help with food or
meeting materials, or volunteer help. In many cases, Lodges have acted as
sponsor for a nearby school building with positive results ultimately
extending throughout the entire community. It has been shown time and again
that Freemasons can also provide a positive presence and a motivating
influence on group activities. With Masonic Lodges (over 13,000) located in
virtually every community or region in the United States, Freemasons are
uniquely positioned to have a dramatic impact on improving the lives of our
nation's young people.
As a result of its efforts, the Foundation
is establishing a national identification for Freemasonry on the subject of
adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. Yet another example of our 'Caring