Helping them celebrate were actors from the East Coast Golden Age Theater - Kathy Swiegart and Dylan Cefail. They performed the classic story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” As the show was wrapping up, Santa Claus snuck up on the actors to the surprise and delight of the children.
He then invited the children to follow him to his chair, where the children lined up to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The children were then each presented with a 2 1/2 foot tall teddy bear.
The bears, donated by the Church of Scientology Religious Trust, were eagerly scooped up by the children, some of whom were only a little taller than the bears they carried. Youth for Human Rights members helped Santa with the distribution, and also to direct the children to the hot cocoa and cookies after the visit with Santa.
The children came from the Greenwood Neighborhood and the Community Learning Center, (CLC), and ranged in ages from one to twelve years old. The CLC has been tutoring children throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough County for nearly twenty years. The CLC also gave out free books to encourage the children to read.
Lisa Mansell, Community Affairs Director for the Church, said that this event, in addition to the on-going Winter Wonderland, is a way for the Church of Scientology to contribute to the community. She also cited how Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard used to donate a 60-foot Christmas tree every year to the children of Hollywood, a tradition that has continued to the present day.
Youth for Human Rights Florida (YHR) is a chapter of Youth for Human Rights International, a non-profit organization with a unique video-based educational program based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Scientologists sponsor this program, which educates people on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.