While Scientologists are a diverse group, all share a strong moral code, an appreciation of ethical conduct in their daily lives and work, and a dedication to improving not only their own lives but the lives and well-being of those around them. In their homes, workplaces, communities and countries, Scientologists endeavor to live in keeping with this tenet of L. Ron Hubbard: “A being is only as valuable as he can serve others.”
These are their stories.
“There is no more rewarding endeavor than that of teaching,” says Colin Taufer, headmaster at Delphi Academy of Florida in Clearwater. He is a second-generation Scientologist who has worked at Delphi for 20 years. Delphi uses the Study Technology of L. Ron Hubbard to help students become highly literate and very competent. Colin says his primary interest is in making leaders who will work with integrity “to uplift, to improve, to inspire.”
He adds, “I see former students of mine leading adult lives full of enthusiasm. I consider them lifelong friends. I attend their weddings, meet their spouses, have dinner with them. We talk about their life plans. This is the ultimate reward.”
Profession: Business consulting
Shaun Kirk has been a Scientologist for 17 years and moved to Clearwater 11 years ago. Long before that, he had a failing physical therapy business in Ohio and needed help. He says, “A management consulting company that utilized Mr. Hubbard’s administrative technology invited me to their seminar. By using this information, my clinic grew nearly tenfold.”
Shaun began business consulting in Cincinnati in 1998. “The greatest joy for me has been showing business owners that there is hope and that his or her goals are in fact achievable,” he says. “I believe that we are all here to make this world a better place. For me, that means helping business owners expand their enterprise which creates more economic prosperity and increases the prosperity of all their employees. As their prosperity increases those clients and staff can then help others.”
Profession: Business owner
The energy that Joanie Sigal exudes when you meet her is also evident in the active life she leads. A 16-year Clearwater resident who owns a business with her husband, Joanie has served on the boards of Boys & Girls Club, the Clearwater Downtown Development Board, the Clearwater Main Street Promotions Committee and the Clearwater Community Volunteers.
She is also cofounder and chairperson of Florida Citizens for Social Reform, a nonprofit public policy group involved in solutions to drug abuse, education and illiteracy, and family values. For Joanie, the issue of drug abuse is a standout among these because of its damaging effects on others.
“The abuse of prescription drugs is the worst epidemic in our country today,” she says. “The answer to this problem is to educate children so they will say no, parents so they will recognize the signs of drug use early, and doctors so they will end rampant and negligent prescribing of dangerous drugs.”
Citing the decline in literacy levels for grade-school children and the decline in stable family groups as results of drug abuse, Joanie adds: “I am dedicated to solving this problem and providing the necessary education, and I do it by supporting the Foundation for a Drug-Free Florida as well as the Florida Citizens for Social Reform.”
Brett Miller, founder and president of a consulting company, is a former U.S. Army officer and helicopter pilot and has lived in Clearwater since 1995.
He says, “Scientology enabled me to assess my goals in life in an organized and rational way. These new viewpoints gave me the certainty to launch my own consulting firm and also the time to work with local organizations that help the community.”
Brett has been active with a variety of community groups, including Tampa Bay Builders’ Association, Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. He is also a cofounder of Florida Citizens for Social Reform.
Profession: Painter, Photographer
As an artist, Gracia Bennish has spent most of her life in service to creativity. Awarded a scholarship to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., she became a painter, photographer and owner of a design and photography firm.
There was a point when Gracia decided to take her creativity outside her studio to the bigger canvas of the world. She became president of Florida United for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization dedicated to implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She now travels and speaks internationally on human rights, leadership and drug education.
“I have learned that human rights belong to each individual and are for all mankind,” says Bennish. “As president of Florida United for Human Rights, I have the opportunity to inform people about what human rights are.”