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Freedom Magazine, published by the Church of Scientology

Inglewood's “Set A Good Example” Contest
Kids Take on Crime, Violence with Common Sense Moral Code

TWTH Headquarters in Glendale, CA
Hosting volunteers and supporters from every continent, The Way to Happiness Foundation shows the books precepts — and the successes of its programs worldwide — on display in the foyer of the new international headquarters.
Torn by gang violence, with stories of harm to innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire and charges of police abuse, neighborhoods in Inglewood are not unlike others that have become inner-city battlegrounds. But what sets Inglewood apart from others under siege is a new hope for a future made brighter by children who are setting a good example for young and old alike.

In recent months a wave of mutual respect has hit Inglewood, thanks to the emergence of a contest for youth that is based upon 21 precepts of a non-religious moral code that help children and adults alike to lead happier and more productive lives.

The community-wide benefits of this contest, based upon one of the 21 precepts, “Set a good example,” resulted in special awards for the exemplary youth who participated. They were honored at an awards ceremony sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America (CBAA) on June 28, 2003, held at the Hollywood Casino Pavilion and Entertainment Center in Inglewood. And joining CBAA national chairman Dr. Richard Palmquist to honor them was Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn, actress Nancy Cartwright (voice of television's Bart Simpson) and more than two hundred children, parents, judges and well-wishers for the city's first, “Set a Good Example” Contest awards ceremony. It was the first such event in California and the latest in a growing nationwide movement that proudly boasts reduced crime rates wherever the contest is implemented locally.

This simple contest is based on the book The Way to Happiness, a nonreligious moral code written by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. One key precept, “Set a Good Example,” is the cornerstone of CBAA's community improvement campaign in Inglewood and other American cities. Contestants, ranging in ages from 5 to 16, each report by essay the actions they take to set good examples for their peers. And as a result, even the most strife-riddled neighborhoods begin to see changes for the better.

That story has been repeated time and again in many other cities across the country, regardless of culture, creed or even economic status of the children participating. In Harlingen, Texas, for example, broad distribution of The Way to Happiness throughout the community was date-coincident with statistics for the number of violent crimes plummeting to zero.

Inglewood Discovers The Way to Happiness

In October 2001, Harlingen Mayor Connie de la Garza sent off a letter to Inglewood Mayor Dorn; in it she promoted the Texas city's phenomenal crime rate turnabout and urged Dorn to adopt The Way to Happiness program and “Set a Good Example” Contest in his own city.

“Local business leaders and others have told me this program is a winner,” Mayor de la Garza wrote to Dorn. “I believe you will find that to be true. I encourage you to enjoy the benefits it has to offer the city of Inglewood.”

Impressed with the program's results, Mayor Dorn immediately adopted the campaign for Inglewood and, on June 28 this year, hundreds of supporters, including many city officials, gathered to recognize the winners of the city's first “Set a Good Example” Contest. His opening remarks clearly outlined the potential impact of this program on the community. “It appears that, in our society, too many people think ‘the only way I can get ahead is by lying and cheating,’ and I'm here to tell you, that's not true,” he said. “What it all comes down to is living a moral life, not lying, not cheating, just doing what is right.” Douglas Williams, CBAA's public affairs ambassador, stressed the importance of reducing crime in Inglewood by encouraging youth to adopt a positive moral code they can follow and, with it, they can transform not only themselves but their community.

“People think it's up to the police to stop crime,” says Williams, “but police engage criminal suspects only after the crime has been committed. The real answer is to address the problem at its roots by helping young people and adults learn to recognize and respect the importance of others — and thereby respect themselves.”

Inglewood's Exemplary Best




Winners of the Inglewood “Set a Good Example” Contest describe how they are helping to improve their community — by stellar example.

“Be a true friend. Show respect in front of little kids. Help others that are hurt in the yard. Stay away from drugs. Pray for others in need.”

— Kristin Calvin (8)

“I went to a punk concert and I saw some kids smoking weed and I told them why are you smoking? It doesn't make you any better. They just put the weed down.”

— Sara Castillo (14)

“I have set a good example by doing a simple thing like helping kids do their homework. In doing this younger kids can turn in their homework papers and get A’s. This might be the start of succeeding for young kids. These kids could become doctors, teachers and scientists.”

— Jordan Metoyer (11)

“I set a good example by studying to get good grades. By helping my mom with dinner and with dressing my three little brothers and sisters. By volunteering at the park to help the counselors and the kids with whatever problems they may have. By taking it upon myself to educate myself in math, reading and any other important subjects for university. By continuing to study Japanese for four years straight without giving up and doing my best by myself.”

— Kalani George (15)

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