As part of his required Eagle Scout project, Jared Leist, 13, built a children’s outdoor lending library for the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic. After benefiting from the clinic’s services as a child, he wanted to return the favor.
The book repository, constructed for the location at Jefferson County Health Center in Arnold, Missouri, is a box designed to provide easy access for those who want to donate books to be used by the clinic, or for those who wish to use the books for speech and language therapy.
Leist attended the clinic when he was a young child with a speech delay. Following therapy sessions, he achieved communication abilities within the normal range — a major reason why Leist sought out the clinic for his Eagle Scout service project.
“Jared wanted to give back to the clinic that had helped him and his brother so many years before,” says Jacob Gutshall, director of the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic. “It is impressive that Jared would be eligible to become an Eagle Scout at such a young age. But, once I met and spoke with him it was obvious that he is a very well-rounded and mature young man who will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.”
As Leist was working his project, Bob Harman, a Scottish Rite Mason and a representative from the real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, reached out to the clinic to offer support for the company’s annual service project. Employees participated in a children’s book drive, resulting in a donation of about 250 new books.
“We plan to share the books with as many families as possible, including stocking Jared’s lending library,” says Gutshall. “Books are great because the rich grammar and concepts can be modeled and be revisited each time a book is read. They are also fantastic for shared interaction between a parent and a child to build conversation skills, such as communicating ideas and turn taking.”
The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic is a charitable organization with all services provided free to children ages two through six with speech and language disorders. Services are funded by corporate and foundation grants, special fundraising events and individual donations. The clinic receives no federal funding, and families are never charged for services, regardless of financial status or insurance coverage. The clinic has locations in St. Louis City and County, and in the communities of Arnold, Troy and Union, Missouri. The main Walker Scottish Rite Clinic is located in Myrtle E. and Earl E. Walker Hall, on the campus of Maryville University.