The Way to Happiness is a common-sense, non-religious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 80’s. Among the 21 precepts detailed in the booklet are points such as “Love and Help Children,” and “Try to Treat Others as You Would Want Them to Treat You.” The booklet has been distributed in hot spots internationally to help calm the area down.
The East Tampa project was conceived of by Tampa-based accountant and Scientology Volunteer Minister, Marlin Anderson.
“I started this project last year because I had to do something about the numerous senseless shootings, both in East Tampa and Ybor City. The locations of the shootings were not far from the Church of Scientology of Tampa, I felt that it was vital for us to help the community be safer.”
Anderson said that he got the idea from another businessman and fellow parishioner Jeff Hahn.
“In looking at what I could do, I found out that Jeff had completed a very successful project in the high-crime neighborhoods around the Church of Scientology in Buffalo. He was able to distribute booklets throughout those neighborhoods and it helped to reduce the crime rate there. I decided to recruit some volunteers and do the same thing here.”
“I saw how the distribution of the Way to Happiness in really hot trouble zones, such as Bogota, Columbia helped turn around the community. It is a very simple book, but it changes how people see themselves in relation to others and it is pretty magical.”
Anderson noted that though East Tampa has issues with crime, there are many leaders in that community who want to make the area a safer place. “I feel honored to work alongside the East Tampa community leaders on this project, who have a definite dedication to the betterment of their community, and it would have been impossible to do what we did in East Tampa without their support.”
Groups of volunteers distributed the booklet house to house and person to person on Sunday mornings, a relatively quiet time in the neighborhood.
Deborah Otto was one such volunteer, who started just delivering the booklets, but then moved on to overseeing all of the distribution. Otto said that she found the experience very rewarding.
“I talked to people I met in the neighborhood and I found them to be gracious and welcoming – they seemed to be happy to see people who cared about their neighborhood. Some asked for copies of the booklet to give to their friends. I remember one woman in the Grant Park neighborhood who stopped her car to tell us how much she appreciated what we were doing.”
Otto also told of neighbors who would offer her and her fellow volunteers ice cold water and watermelon.
“But the best thing was to come around a corner and see someone sitting on their front steps or standing on the street reading the book - that was heartwarming.
“You are important to other people,” wrote Hubbard, in the opening lines to The Way to Happiness. “You are listened to. You can influence others. The happiness or unhappiness of others you could name is important to you. Without too much trouble, using this book, you can help them survive and lead happier lives.”
To learn more about the Way to Happiness, or to see all 21 precepts, please go to their You Tube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/