More than 70 of Alaska’s youth leaders in the areas of service and character will be in Juneau from June 23 to 26 for the 52nd Grand Session of the Alaska Grand Assembly of the International Order of the Rainbow.
This year’s Grand Session will be particularly special for Juneau’s Sorcha Hazelton, who will conclude her year as Grand Worthy Advisor, or president of the Rainbow Girls for the state.
Hazelton dedicated her year as GWA to RiteCare, an organization dedicated to helping children with speech and language disorders.
This desire to help with the diagnosis and treatment of speech and language disorders came in part from Hazelton’s study of American Sign Language in high school and college.
“As well as being a beautiful language, it opened my eyes to many things surrounding the deaf and hard of hearing cultures and the way they live their lives,” she said. “Hearing loss is something that each of us encounters, whether it’s the hearing loss of our grandparents or even our adult advisers.”
Hazelton is a graduate of Thunder Mountain High School and earned her associate’s degree from the University of Alaska Southeast in May. She is the 10th Grand Worthy Advisor from Juneau in state history.
Since joining the Rainbow Girls in 2005, Hazelton has since traveled to conventions in Washington, California, Nebraska, Oregon, Michigan and Oklahoma on behalf of Alaska’s Rainbow Girls. She also represented Alaska at the international convention in Baltimore earlier this year.
Several other state officers are members of the Juneau Assembly, including Megan Clough, Mikayla Stiner, Virginia Roldan, Holly Rose and Teresa Rose.
This year’s Grand Communication is also dedicated to the memory of Ila Hammond. A longtime member of the Juneau community, she died Dec. 28, 2013. In addition to running the Juneau Chiropractic Clinic with her husband, Don, Ila graduated from UAS with a degree in music. Her community involvement included service through the Rainbow Girls and the Order of the Eastern Star, among other local organizations.
Activities for the Grand Session unofficially begin June 23, with the Rainbow Girls taking part in a service project and a welcoming picnic. The public is invited to attend the opening at 7 p.m. on June 24 at the Baranof Hotel, 127 N. Franklin St. Events will continue through June 26.
About the Rainbow Girls
Founded in 1922, The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is a nonprofit youth service group for teenage girls ages 11 to 20. Rainbow teaches growth and strength of character through service to others. In addition to Alaska and other U.S. states, Rainbow has assemblies located in Aruba, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Germany Italy, Japan and the Philippines. For more information, visit gorainbow.org.
In the early 1950s in Colorado, the Scottish Rite initiated a program to help children with speech and language disorders. The results obtained from this program led to the establishment of RiteCare clinics to provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders, as well as learning disabilities.
Today, there are 178 RiteCare clinics, centers and special programs operating or planned for children and therapists located throughout the United States. Each facility is staffed by speech-language pathologists or other trained personnel. Through the support of Scottish Rite members, these clinics, centers and programs continue to increase. The value of this philanthropy has long been apparent.
Tens of thousands of youngsters across the United States have been helped significantly. With the good work of dedicated clinicians and parents, the Scottish Rite has achieved successes that could only be imagined a few years back. Children who might have remained educationally behind for a lifetime can now talk, read and lead productive lives. For more information, visit scottishrite.org/brothers-in-the-community/ritecare.