Community Service Takes Center Stage at Church of Scientology Event
12/28/2014

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Church of Scientology, Flag Service Organization honored those who demonstrate their desire to help.

Online PR News – 28-December-2014 – Clearwater, FL – After a year of direct assistance to the community, tutoring, teaching the truth about drugs, instilling basic human rights and showing others the Way to Happiness, the Church of Scientology, Flag Service Organization acknowledged the work of their volunteers at a special holiday reception.

“Parishioners of the Church donated more than 100,000 hours to the community,” said Church spokesperson Pat Harney, “and this is the perfect time of year to acknowledge the work that they have done.”

The event was held in the Crystal Ballroom of the historic Fort Harrison and was attended by representatives from 20 different outreach activities.

Joanie Sigal, one of these volunteers, runs a marketing firm with her husband, Steve. In addition to serving on the board of Clearwater Jazz Holiday and the Sunscreen Film Festival, Joanie is the Producer of the East Coast Golden Age Theater – a troop of actors who perform old-time radio style readings of classic pulp fiction stories by L. Ron Hubbard.

“I have volunteered for the Church since 1985 – 30 years!” said Ms. Sigal. “Truthfully, volunteering with all the various Church activities is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that I do. Everything I’ve done has been in the direction of helping people feel better about themselves – even my singing – and I love doing that. Once volunteering is in your blood, it stays there.”

Accountant Marlin Anderson is another parishioner of the Church of Scientology who dedicates time to volunteering. In addition to working with the Citizens Commission for Human Rights, he works as a Volunteer Minister, dedicatedly represents and distributes the Way to Happiness throughout all of East Tampa, is on the board of the Eastern Heights Neighborhood Association in East Tampa, and works on the board of the Sunset Park Area Homeowners Association (president for 6 out of the past 8 years since 2006).

“I first started doing volunteer work for the Church about 27 years ago,” said Mr. Anderson. “In these years, I have learned that if you take responsibility for someone other than yourself, you can thrive. We all need to give of ourselves and take responsibility for improving conditions and do what we can to make a better world.”

The Church also honored volunteers who have clocked less time, but who, in the words of Ms. Harney “Inspire others through their dedication.”

Julieta Santagostino is one such volunteer. She has been volunteering for the Church for the past eight years, most notably as the President of the Foundation for a Drug Free World, a secular drug education campaign supported by the Church of Scientology.

“I’ve given drug education lectures to students, teachers, police officers, sheriff's departments, correctional facility employees, etc.,” said Ms. Santagostino. “What I've learned in doing this is there are a lot of people that want to help but don't know how to get started or have the tools to do so. That is what is great about my Church, they really give anyone all they need to start helping.”

Ms. Santagostino also traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2011 to help introduce the Truth About Drugs Program there.

“It met with such great success there that the program was accepted and approved by the President of the Drug Council. He, in turn, is helping it get introduced in Honduras,” said Ms. Santagostino. “This next year is going to mean expansion for this program like never before, and I am so happy to be a part of it!”

“Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard said that ‘A being is only as valuable as he can serve others,’” concluded Ms. Harney. “These parishioners and others demonstrate their dedication to their community and their work is very much appreciated.”

To find out more about how Scientologists work with the community, please go to www.scientology.org.