Scientologists in the Tampa Bay Community
In 1961, Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “…a being is only as valuable as he can serve others.” This is a precept that inspires the work of Scientologists around the world including those in the Tampa Bay area. The following is a brief description of some of the community outreach groups and organizations local Scientologists have founded and participate in. Membership is not limited to Scientologists and people of all faiths are welcome to volunteer to provide needed services to the people of the community.
Twenty years ago, Clearwater resident and world-class runner Sandra Johnson started the Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic to promote an anti-drug message. Now under the direction of local resident, Chris Alexander, a team of 200 volunteers ensure the race comes off each year without a hitch. It has become one of the premier races in the Tampa Bay area, drawing up to 1,000 runners with athletes competing from all over the world.
The Community Learning Center (CLC)
Holly and Brendan Haggerty, parents of four, founded the Community Learning Center in 1998 to provide a safe place for kids for afterschool arts and sports programs. The Haggertys have now expanded their program to include literacy tutoring for adults. Based near downtown Clearwater, their afterschool tutoring programs also run in Pinellas, Dade, Hillsborough, Alachua, Broward-Deerfield and Broward-Ft. Lauderdale counties. Their 89 volunteers have tutored some 500 students in the past year alone.
Clearwater resident Susan Broughton runs Criminon Florida, a chapter of Criminon International that offers character-building criminal-rehabilitation programs through correspondence courses to more than 2000 inmates in 85 percent of the 75 Florida state prisons. Courses address a wide range of subjects from character building and drug education to study and communication skills. This activity is 100 percent volunteer-based.
Narconon provides substance abuse education and rehabilitation in three Florida locations: Clearwater-based Narconon Florida, Narconon Destin and Narconon Spring Hill on the Florida Panhandle. Spring Hill and Destin are residential facilities, and the Clearwater operation offers help to addicts who can carry on with their work and their day-to-day lives while participating in the program. At each of these centers the addicts not only withdraw from drugs, they also address the underlying cause of their addiction by working out and resolving the problems they were trying to “solve” with drugs. Life skills courses are key to the success of the program. Narconon Florida is a part of Narconon International, a world-wide network of 188 drug education and rehabilitation facilities in 46 countries.
The Way to Happiness
Written by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1980s, The Way to Happiness is a non-religious, common-sense moral code designed to help young and old alike make decisions that enable them to live happier and more productive lives. In Tampa Bay, the Way to Happiness Club, led by Clearwater resident Betsy Cramb, distributed 62,800 free booklets and held 52 events last year to educate children in the application of this non-religious moral code to improve their survival and the survival of those around them.
The Clearwater Community Volunteers (CCV)
What originally started as the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology, the Clearwater Community Volunteers holds fundraisers and events throughout the year to benefit local charities. These include Winter Wonderland in downtown Clearwater, the Easter Egg Hunt in Coachman Park, and Fashions-with-Flair fashion show at the Belleair Country Club. With the funds raised from these events, CCV contributes tens of thousands of dollars each year to worthwhile local charitable organizations. Pamela Ryan Anderson now heads a team of more than 800 CCV volunteers.
Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Florida
Led by Julietta Gil, this group was founded to educate people about the dangers of abusing harmful drugs. A chapter of the international Foundation for a Drug-Free World, members of the local group gave 30 drug education lectures in schools throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough County to about 3,500 people last year. They also distributed 75,000 drug education booklets over the last two years. They partner with many local groups including the Dunedin Blue Jays, the Clearwater Downtown Partnership and the Sunscreen Film Festival. The program includes a local chapter of the “Drug Free Marshals,” youth who pledge to be drug-free and encourage others to do the same.
Human Rights Awareness
The protection of basic human rights has been a hallmark of the Church of Scientology since its earliest days. In Tampa Bay, Scientologists participate in two groups that educate people about their rights—the Tampa Bay Chapter of Youth for Human Rights and the Human Rights Group. Members of Youth for Human Rights give presentations on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in schools throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. They pass out thousands of booklets and arrange the airing of public service announcements depicting the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Headed by Linda Drazkowski, the Human Rights Group held its third annual Human Rights Walk-a-Thon in March at St. Petersburg’s Straub Park. More than 1,000 local residents from many different faiths and backgrounds marched in support of human rights.