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International Youth Day in Clearwater Focuses on Education - the Key to Strong Mental Health in our Youth

An audience ranging from 11 to 70 years old hears how education forwards the theme for 2014 International Youth Day -"Mental Health Matters."

CLEARWATER, Fla., Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- What parent isn't concerned about their children's mental health and their future?  Where education levels rank low, as they do in Pinellas County, parents struggle to come to grips with solutions that will give their children the fundamentals they need for strong mental health and a bright future.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 70% of Florida 8th grade students are below proficiency in reading skills, statistics that do not bode well for our children, their future and ours. 

Holly Haggerty, Executive Director of The Community Learning Center (CLC) in Clearwater Florida, feels she has an answer to poor education – "start early."  Ms. Haggerty, who founded the CLC in 1997, and has worked with thousands of children and adults in 6 counties in Florida, told a diverse audience celebrating International Youth Day at the Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater on Tuesday 12th August, "Poor education is at the root of society's ills. It is weakening our children and destroying our future.  It is important that we work together as a community to catch youth as soon as they begin to struggle with education and help them turn this around. The earlier you start, the better their future and ours."

Educating kids is not that hard according to Ms. Haggerty:  "Using the Hubbard Method of Education, CLC can raise literacy levels at least 1 grade in targeted areas in 30 hours of tutoring."  She then presented anecdotes from the center's history.  She spoke of how older kids improved their education by helping younger ones and she advanced changes that are needed in the education system to remedy the dismal statistics.

Guests ranging in age from 11 years old to 70 and from all across the greater Clearwater area joined in celebrating International Youth Day, a day created by the UN to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. Among the audience were members of Save our Students, whose mission is to give youth a place where they can feel safe and know that someone cares, Youth for Human Rights, a group that educates people about their 30 human rights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Clearwater Martin Luther King Coalition, a group working to reopen the MLK Community Center for neighborhood families in Clearwater's North Greenwood. 

Also addressing the group was 19-year-old Karla Dana, the Director of Youth for Human Rights Florida, who represented the USA at last year's International Youth for Human Rights Summit in Brussels, Belgium and was the recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Awards at a Human Rights event in Washington D.C. earlier this year.   Ms. Dana told the group, "The more you know your human rights and practice standing up for human rights, the stronger you will be mentally – then no one can put you down." 

About The Fort Harrison:

The Fort Harrison is owned by The Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, the international spiritual headquarters for the Scientology religion, which was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard.  The Church restored the iconic Fort Harrison in 2009 and made its auditoriums, boardrooms and several other spaces, available for use by non-profit organizations.

International Youth Day:

The very first International Youth Day was held in 2000 and is commemorated annually on the 12th of August. The UN's purpose was to create awareness on the various cultural and legal issues regarding the youth of earth.

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