Meet a Scientologist—Julieta Santagostino, Helping Florida Children Live Drug-Free Lives
Scientologist Julieta Santagostino is director of the Florida chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.
Fashion designer Julieta Santagostino, 28, is the driving force behind the Florida chapter of Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Her profile is one of more than 200 “Meet a Scientologist” videos on the Scientology website at www.scientology.org.
Committed to helping children avoid the tragedy of drug abuse, Santagostino and her team carry out a host of activities to get the truth about drugs to Florida youth.
Santagostino lives in Clearwater, Florida, with husband Ricardo, where she moved with her family from Juarez, Mexico, when she was 10. When she visited Juarez a few years later, Santagostino was shocked to see the toll drugs and drug-related crime had taken on the city. This experience ignited her passion to help protect children and teens from the tragedy of drug abuse.
“I had always been aware of the harmful effects of drugs, not only to individuals, but the whole community,” she says, “but this visit really opened my eyes to how deep the problem goes.”
Santagostino’s team of volunteers promotes drug education through events to “swear in” children who pledge to be drug-free. They sponsor sports events, concerts and other programs to promote drug awareness, and deliver drug education lectures to organizations and schools throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
“I have been interviewed on radio and TV more than 70 times to inform people about the effects of drugs,” she says. “People don’t want to be lectured about what they can or can’t do in their personal lives, so we provide the facts that actually empower youth, and everyone for that matter, to know the truth about drugs.”
One recent example illustrates the impact these materials can create.
A woman approached her to thank her for the work the Foundation is doing. Several years ago, while running in the Clearwater Say No To Drugs Holiday Classic 5K and 10K Run, the woman received a copy of The Truth About Drugs documentary DVD and had her children watch it. She told Santagostino the film really opened their eyes and that is the reason both children, now in college, are doing so well today.
“To me, there is nothing more gratifying than results like this,” says Santagostino. “By educating the community, especially the youth who are most at risk, I know we can help them make the right decisions about drugs.”
In her “Meet a Scientologist” video, Santagostino admits she did not always have the positive state of mind that is her hallmark today.
“Before, it was a bit like, ‘I don't know if I'm good enough,’ ‘I don't know if I can do it.’ But with the data and information I learned in Scientology it gave me the impulse, the urge, to carry forward to accomplish my goals.”
The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total more than 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.
A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, with videos now viewed more than 6 million times.