• June 4, 2014
Through their drug education and prevention work, Scientologists Mark and Carol Loweree of Sun Valley, California, are making a positive impact on the lives of thousands of youth in the San Fernando Valley—youth who might otherwise fall prey to drug abuse.
Several years ago Mark and Carol were approached by a police captain who was looking for a way to combat the serious problem of drug abuse among children and teens.
“Drugs are a big problem for law enforcement,” says Mark. “On one end of the crime spectrum, drugs are the usual cause for burglaries and car break-ins, and at the other end, drugs are the financial backbone of gangs. So when the captain asked for our help, we didn’t hesitate. Law enforcement gives so much to the community. Saying ‘No’ was not an option.”
Using The Truth about Drugs materials, Mark and Carol created an hour-long program that is interactive and fun. It informs youth of the effects of drugs and encourages them to live drug-free. At the end of each presentation the youngsters pledge not to use harmful drugs and they are presented with a drug-free wristband to signify their commitment.
From the beginning, local clergy jumped on board to bring the drug-free message to their congregations and beyond. One pastor held a class at an apartment building with over 75 attendees; then more than 100 attended his next class at a city park.
“A pastor gave a ‘Truth about Drugs’ presentation at his church,” says Carol, “and afterwards a couple of kids came up to him and confessed that they were taking hard drugs. As a result, the pastor was able to help them. He told us this would not have happened if he hadn’t done the lesson.”
Mark elaborated: “Thanks to local clergy and law enforcement, there have been over 100 seminars in the last 2 1/2 years, and more than 13,000 kids have taken the pledge to be drug-free. We expect to reach over 10,000 kids in 2014 alone, but our goal is to reach all 300,000 youth in our geographic area—and not just once, but every year. It is going to take that kind of effort to educate children to the point where they are adequately equipped to deal with drug dealers and peer pressure.”
Mark and Carol say their work on drug prevention has been a very rewarding experience. “We have met many wonderful, caring people”, says Mark. “The pastors we work with are big-hearted people, dedicated to helping the community. And the police—we had no idea the police were so involved in community improvement. Some of the finest people we know are police officers.”
“For me, the best part of our work is seeing the light turn on in the eyes of a child,” says Carol. “Nothing compares to that. When they get it they really get it. Sometimes a child will come up to me who has attended The Truth about Drugs classes before and they’ll say ‘I’m still wearing my drug-free wristband!’ It is so gratifying to know that they are sticking to a commitment that will shape the rest of their lives.”