Fort Harrison Hosts Day of the Girl Child Event

The Church of Scientology hosted a celebration of International Day of the Girl Child at the Fort Harrison, the Church of Scientology religious retreat in Clearwater.

On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

A UNICEF publication titled A Statistical Snapshot of Violence Against Adolescent Girls, begins with these sobering words: “Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. Yet these deaths represent only the most extreme and irrevocable assaults in a long continuum of violence faced by adolescent girls on a daily basis, usually at the hands of people closest to them—caregivers, peers and intimate partners.” The booklet goes on to state “girls must be empowered with the knowledge, skills, resources and options they need to reach their potential and serve as their own advocates.”

To promote the importance of this initiative and honor young women in the local area, the Church of Scientology hosted a celebration of International Day of the Girl at the Fort Harrison, the Church of Scientology religious retreat in Clearwater. Some 130 young ladies enjoyed a day that was just for them.

Gracia Bennish, President of United for Human Rights Florida, opened the event, welcoming the guests. She spoke of how women must ensure that they don’t accept inequality.

“Women empowerment is here to stay,” said Ms. Bennish. “This is a huge subject, as it touches the very fabric of life. Women throughout the world are realizing they have human rights; the right to education, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, the right not to be enslaved or tortured, the right to democracy.”

The event featured stories of young women who are making a difference, such as an 8 year old girl whose letter to President Obama resulted in his taking action to see to the clean-up of the lead-filled water in her city, Flint, Michigan. Another girl raised more than $100,000 by selling lemonade to support a nonprofit fighting human trafficking.

At the event, an award was presented to Sally, 14, who raised money for cancer research, toys for underserved kids and to feed the homeless. She has even established her own nonprofit organization.

Dylan Pires, Community Affairs Director for the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, closed the afternoon by thanking the guests for all they are doing to improve our communities and to let them know, “The doors of The Fort Harrison are open for your nonprofit organizations and any other charities that are doing what is needed to correct abuses and build a better community.”

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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