Pinellas citizens and nonprofits partnering with community centers to make a safer place for all.
Stand in downtown Clearwater at the intersection of Fort Harrison Avenue and Cleveland Street on any day of the week and among the tourists, the curious, the downtown shoppers and the ever-present selfie shooters, you’ll see dozens of locals stepping in and out of six buildings along a two-block stretch of Fort Harrison Avenue.
Two years ago, the Church of Scientology transformed these buildings and put them into public service with a grand opening July 11, 2015. Each building houses the local headquarters for a distinct humanitarian program; altogether, this corridor along Fort Harrison Avenue is a hub for humanitarian endeavors to tackle crime, drug abuse, illiteracy, human rights violations and adversity throughout Pinellas County.
At their opening, Scientology ecclesiastical leader David Miscavige invited residents to avail themselves of the resources that lie within each. “We reside in a community many people regard as a paradise. And we bring vast resources and thousands of talented people to the city,” he said. “If all of us pitch in, we can fix a lot of problems.”
The individuals now coming and going in these centers to fix those problems range from law enforcement officers to former drug users, from teachers to students, and from business owners to retirees. Whether they’re first-time visitors to the centers or taking part in community education seminars or joining in the next outreach activity, they share a singular commitment—to do something about social ills that mar their communities from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.
In the following pages, Freedom features a few of the partnerships and activities emanating from these humanitarian centers.