Pointing the way to a less dangerous and happier life
It was 100 years ago that the Hollywood sign first appeared in the hills overlooking a small Southern California enclave. A new city took form to serve the burgeoning movie industry—a welcoming spot of year-round sunshine. Hollywood still beckons those wishing to break into the tv, movie or music industries. But an increase in homelessness and a spike in violent crime has dimmed its allure in recent years.
A community initiative called the Hollywood Village was formed to reverse this trend. Hollywood Village is a partnership of the Church of Scientology, The Way to Happiness Foundation and the Los Angeles Police Department. Each month, they work together on cleanups and projects.
This month’s cleanup was unique. As usual, volunteers gathered at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood where they picked up brooms, rakes, shovels and bags. But along with their cleaning supplies, this month they carried gardening implements. Their target was an area just off the Hollywood Freeway near the stately Hollywood Presbyterian Church and the local headquarters of the Salvation Army. This stretch of Hollywood was the scene of a fatal shooting last October. After a thorough cleanup of the area, the volunteers planted a memorial rock and agave garden. A pastor from the Salvation Army led the volunteers in a prayer.
Cleanups not only make the community more welcoming to residents and visitors, they also make them safer. A 2018 study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found significant reductions in crime overall following cleanups of blighted urban areas.
The volunteers add another element to their monthly initiative. They hand out The Way to Happiness. This common-sense guide to better living written by author, humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard provides a moral compass anyone may use to better their lives and the lives of others.
“This booklet resonates with people no matter their circumstances,” said the coordinator of the Hollywood Village initiative. “Just by my reading some of these simple principles to houseless people I’ve seen them start to turn their lives around.”
In the book’s epilogue, Mr. Hubbard wrote: “One can feel that things are such now that it is much too late to do anything, that one’s past road is so messed up that there is no chance of drawing a future one that will be any different: there is always a point on the road when one can map a new one. And try to follow it. There is no person alive who cannot make a new beginning.”
For decades The Way to Happiness has been used in prisons and halfway houses to reduce recidivism and help ex-offenders reenter society. Examples of its use are documented in episodes of Voices for Humanity, an original series airing on the Scientology Network.
- In Denver, Colorado, Rev. Leon Kelly uses The Way to Happiness to tackle the gang problem.
- The Way to Happiness helps Rosalba and José Cordero fight back against the moral decline that enables Mexico’s drug cartels to traffic kids into a life of organized crime.
- In Washington, D.C., Kim Bey has used the booklet to help lower crime rates and bring a renewed sense of hope to local neighborhoods.
These tv programs are broadcast from Scientology Media Productions, the Church’s global media center in Los Angeles. The Scientology Network is available on DIRECTV Channel 320, DIRECTV STREAM, AT&T U-verse and can be streamed at Scientology.tv, on mobile apps and via the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV platforms.