CLEARWATER, Fla., April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This weekend part of the solution arrived in Clearwater, Florida, with the opening of a completely remodeled Applied Scholastics Community Learning Center. The more than one thousand people who attended the ceremony were there for one reason—to fight illiteracy and its offspring, poverty and crime.
The newly transformed center on Clearwater's Fort Harrison Avenue just minutes from the downtown core reflects the continued commitment by Scientologists to the Greater Clearwater Community.
Indeed, the opening comes at a crucial time for students. In Pinellas County, for example, only 78 percent of students graduate high school.
"We are proud to be opening this Center in order to bring a workable study technology to all children and families in this community," said Pat Harney, hostess for the event, and Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, before introducing the first speaker of the day, Community Learning Center Executive Director Holly Haggerty.
"We feel that catching illiteracy early is critical," Haggerty told the assembled crowd. "When you are able to work with kids when they are little, when you teach them how to read, how to study and give them their basics, it sets the foundation for them to be successful for the rest of their lives. We definitely see that now with our former students coming back with their children and thanking us for having given them that foundation."
Haggerty's message was echoed in the words of guest speaker Judge Linda Babb, Florida's 6th Judicial Circuit Court, who sees the effects of illiteracy firsthand in her courtroom: "An education is the foundation one needs in order to build a successful life," said Babb during the ceremony. "However, when a foundation isn't properly laid, it won't support the rest of the structure. When a teacher fails, a student doesn't learn and their life crumbles just a little.
"So, I truly welcome this Community Learning Center to Clearwater. And I encourage you to continue reaching out to our children, teaching them that they can learn. This fabulous Learning Center will keep more kids from winding up in my courtroom."
A Detention Deputy for the Pinellas County Sheriff and long-term community activist, Schenique Harris, related the story of how she brought her son to the center for help—National Football League cornerback Leonard Johnson.
"Praying for a miracle, the kid who could barely read saw a sign that read: 'Free Tutoring.' Our pathway towards happiness began that day at the Community Learning Center!
"Because of the Community Learning Center, the resources within and the technology that they use, the kid who some wanted to give a 'special education' diploma to, and who some thought would never attend college, has proven them wrong and now has a Bachelor's Degree in Education himself from Iowa State University."
"Having the opportunity to walk through this new center has revived even me, and reminded me of the importance of what this center means," added Ms. Harris. "Even I want to learn again!"
The day's celebration was capped by remarks delivered by Clearwater Mayor, The Honorable George Cretekos, who heralded the occasion saying, "Students, you're going to have an opportunity now, you're going to have a foundation that has been given to you to learn. This foundation you have is going to give you an opportunity to do well in school, but much more importantly… you are going to have that opportunity to dream, to develop something that will change the world."
Haggerty is very excited about what the future holds for the students who will be crossing the Center's threshold.
"With these facilities, we get to increase the number of kids who will be helped with the Study Technology, and for us that means a brighter future for our community," she said. "There are thousands of students in Clearwater who need our help, and now, the staff and volunteers of this model Center are able to provide it to all of them."
The Community Learning Center offers literacy and tutoring programs based on the research and writings of L. Ron Hubbard. The Center is part of a network of over 1,000 Applied Scholastics groups and affiliates worldwide utilizing L. Ron Hubbard's Study Technology.
The Study Technology allows a person to learn any subject successfully, enabling them to achieve the goals they have set in life for what they want to be and what they want to do.
Study Technology consists of tools and techniques teachers can use to improve the learning rates of students. These same tools and techniques can be used by students themselves to improve their ability to understand and to use the materials they read and study. And it remains vital for continued learning as one leaves school and faces the challenges of life.
More than 100,000 educators utilize these programs to the end of helping some 36 million students around the world. Applied Scholastics was founded in 1972 by a group of educators looking to implement successful educational methods. Applied Scholastics is administered by the Association for Better Living and Education. For more information, please go to AppliedScholastics.org.
The new Applied Scholastics Center is one of eight humanitarian and social betterment facilities opened in Clearwater, Florida in the last nine months and supported by the Church of Scientology. Each facility is committed to a single global humanitarian initiative for the betterment of Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area. They include:
- The new Narconon Suncoast, just 10 minutes from downtown, part of a growing roster of centers using the remarkable drug rehab technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard. The center stands as a valuable asset for residents in the Greater Tampa Bay community.
- The Criminon Florida headquarters, a central point for carrying out the mission of addressing the causes of criminality and restoring offenders' self-respect through effective character-building programs. Currently over 1,000 prisoners in Florida are enrolled on Criminon programs, improving their chances of re-integrating into society as productive citizens.
- A center dedicated to The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard. The new Clearwater office provides common-sense morality to communities throughout Tampa Bay. In one Pinellas County community alone, since volunteers began a campaign to educate residents with The Way to Happiness, the crime rate dropped 56%.
- The new center for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, whose international The Truth About Drugs program has reached 260 million people worldwide. The Foundation has created partnerships with dozens of law enforcement agencies and more than 100 youth education facilities around Florida.
- A Clearwater home for United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights—global education initiatives working to identify and protect the rights of every citizen of the world. This headquarters has partnered with 130 like-minded groups and organizations to bring effective education on human rights to young and old alike throughout the State of Florida.
- A museum and operations center for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the world's leading mental health watchdog group since 1969. The Clearwater information center features the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum, and serves as an investigative arm and referral center dedicated to the eradication of psychiatric abuse.
- And the downtown headquarters of the Church's Volunteer Ministers, part of a global movement active in 120 nations—the world's largest independent relief force. Scientologists volunteer more than 200,000 hours a year in the Tampa Bay area alone, living by the Volunteer Ministers motto that no matter the challenge, "Something can be done about it."
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