On the Level: Student Success!
Every child deserves the opportunity to be safe, to learn and to grow. Washington Masonic Charities is working hard to bring different initiatives to cities and communities throughout the state and help bring light to a very big part of that community which is in the darkness - the more than 40,000 children in our state who are homeless. Shockingly, 6,000 of those kids have no parent or guardian, and are either couch surfing, waiting for foster care, or living on the streets. According to the latest numbers, over 17.5% of children under the age of 18 live below the Federal Poverty Line.
Children raised in poverty rarely choose to behave differently, but they are faced daily with overwhelming challenges that affluent children never have to confront, and their brains have adapted to sub-optimal conditions in ways that undermine good school performance. Strong, secure relationships help stabilize children's behavior and provide the core guidance needed to build lifelong social skills. Children who grow up with such relationships learn healthy, appropriate emotional responses to everyday situations. However, children raised in poor households often fail to learn these responses, to the detriment of their school performance.
As poverty impacts children at school the question becomes, “What can I do to make a difference?” We can’t save the world, however, we can make a difference in our communities.
How Lodges Can Assist
The Masonic Fraternity has a unique opportunity to make a difference in the community. Every school district has a staff person (Homeless Liaison) to assist students experiencing homelessness and they can help Lodge members identify needs of these and other groups of students.
Student Assistance Fund: Washington Masonic Charities uses funds allocated by the local Masonic Lodge to assist students in their communities, grades 1-12, who are experiencing homelessness. The funds are held in an account at Washington Masonic Charities and an electronic request form is filed when the funds are needed. We also provide tracking software for Lodges for expenditures in their own program.
Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions
How it Works
For emergency needs; The school liaison, identified by the District Homeless Liaison, would contact a specific member of the Lodge who would then work with other Masons and community members to quickly fill the need. The preferred mode of delivery is to receive a request from the liaison and work with them to fulfill the stated need in the most timely manner possible. For example, if you discover a child that needs a winter coat simply make your request known to the Lodge Liaison who will purchase the jacket after consulting with the school liaison.
For on-going needs; The Lodge members and the school liaison would work together to plan, identify, and gather the needed resources or information that the students need to help them be successful. Some of the Masons are health care professionals (i.e. medical, dental, optical…etc.), so there is an excellent chance they may be able to arrange donation of services or services at a vastly reduced fee.
Working together, WAMC, your Lodge, and the school district can support a program to bring needed resources to the local schools. This can be the first of many opportunities to assist your local schools.
Levels of Participation
Below are some of the many ways a Lodge can assist students at your local school.
Meeting with student on regular basis
Working with school staff
Meet with school staff, as needed
|Mentoring||School Supplies Backpacks||Funds to pay off school lunch debt|
|Assist in Navigating the Educational System||Weekend Food Backpacks||Sock Drive|
|Basic Hygiene||New Clothes||Classroom Supplies|
|School Basic Needs Supply Room||Shoe Bank||Funds for School Events|
|CASA: Court Appointed Advocate||Eyeglasses||Free Books for Schools|
Links if you are interested in information regarding poverty in the State of Washington
Kids Count Data Center Site * Report Card on Local School Districts
Number of Homeless Students in Local School Districts. * School District Homeless Liaisons.
Resources for Low-income Families in Washington * Washington State WorkFirst * 2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
Assistance for Youth & Children
If you are, or you know, a young person who is experiencing a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action for which there are no known community resources available to meet the need or the urgency of the situation that requires limited cash assistance, call our office and ask to speak to one of our case managers. Dial: 1-844-228-3531.
Here are three steps available to Masonic family members. These are in addition to case management support provided by our staff that can start immediately.
1. Home Lodge: Contact your Lodge Worshipful Master or Lodge Secretary and find out what the Lodge’s process is to request assistance. A Mason must ask for help from his home Lodge first.
2. Grand Lodge: If the need is greater than your Lodge can provide, you may complete a Request for Masonic Relief form, found on the Grand Lodge website. Follow the instructions or call us for assistance. This will go through the Grand Lodge Charity Committee process. Charity Committee Masonic Relief Form.
3. (A) WA Masonic Charities: If the need still exists, then WA Masonic Charities may also be able to provide limited one-time emergency needs assistance.
3. (B) WA Masonic Service Bureau may also be able to provide assistance. The MSB's primary focus is assisting Masons in good standing who are going through financial issues - loss of job, or sudden hardship expenses. MSB assistance is Short-Term in nature. Masons in good standing need to be sponsored by their home Lodge.Visit the Masonic Service Bureau website or call or 206-937-1445.