“We have a lot of suicides. We have a lot of families being broken apart,” says Thomas Henry, whose is dedicated to helping Maori youth live better and happier lives.
Henry is Chairman of the Mangere Maori Wardens Association, a community volunteer organization that operates under auspices of the Ministry of Maori Development to ensure the safety and security of youth and the community as a whole.
In Mangere, a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, Henry finds that although the social problems are severe and diverse, they share a common source—drug and alcohol addiction.
To address this, he works in partnership with the Church of Scientology of Auckland.
“The Church of Scientology and their Drug-Free Ambassadors are able to come out and interact with our community,” he says.
Henry uses The Truth About Drugs booklets in his drug education presentations, which he says receive great response from the kids—they are “blown away” by the information they learn.88df1afd-c5ba
He also uses The Truth About Drugs public service announcements which he finds have even greater impact.
“We start playing a lot of these short ads—they just freak out on what they see in regards to the different drugs that affect them. All the stuff that they see, they go, ‘Oh! I don’t want to do that. Oh, does that really happen?’ We know that we’ve got the message across to them,” he continues, “because they turn around and say, ‘We don’t want to go there.’”22ddba1e-d0ed
These materials have also been a great help to the Maori Wardens themselves, helping them “see what people were going through and what the drugs were doing to their lives.”
Through a joint Maori Warden/Church of Scientology campaign some 400,000 copies of The Truth About Drugs booklets have been distributed in New Zealand, made possible by the generous contributions of members of the Church of Scientology.
Describing the program as “taonga”—the word for “treasure” in Maori, Henry says, “I know this program has made a big impact. “The resources that we’re getting from the Church of Scientology are helping our community and right across New Zealand. It’s touching a lot of people’s lives—even saving people’s lives.”