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Scientology Volunteer Ministers: Helping First Responders Deal With the 'Human Factor' in Times of Disaster


Sharing simple techniques that address the spiritual and emotional suffering of disaster victims and first responders

America’s emergency response personnel are heroes. They are dedicated to saving property and lives. But there is another factor in disaster relief: the ongoing spiritual and emotional consequences of disasters to both first responders and victims. Scientology Volunteer Ministers reached out at Disasters Expo USA 2024 in Miami March 6 and 7 to share simple techniques anyone may learn to help with this “human factor” that is so crucial to the quality of life.

Since 2005, when they were recognized as “Hurricane Heroes” for helping victims of Hurricane Charley, the state’s Volunteer Ministers have responded to major disasters in Florida, nearby states, and throughout the Caribbean, earning them the respect of disaster and emergency response professionals for the quality of their care. 

A team of these disaster response veterans set up their signature bright yellow tent at the expo and introduced those attending to the Volunteer Ministers program and its life-affirming technology. 

In South Africa, the Gauteng Department of Health partners with the country’s Volunteer Ministers to train its emergency and disaster personnel. “This Tools for Life skills program is not just theoretical training,” said the station manager of Emergency Medical Services of the West Rand City municipality. “We also need help.” He found these courses prevent burnout by addressing “real, daily life challenges.”

“The Tools for Life made me more resilient,” said the chief chaplain of the Gauteng Department of Health. They helped him find “the knowledge and strength that I can face more pressure going forward.”

Those trained in this technology are far more able to interact with victims and help them overcome their trauma.  

Among those presenting the program at the Disasters Expo USA booth were veterans of the Volunteer Ministers’ response to Hurricane Ian, which wreaked havoc in Southwest Florida in 2022. Feedback from victims of that hurricane show the impact of the skills these volunteers have learned and use.

Among those staffing the booth were volunteers who responded to Hurricane Ian
Among those staffing the booth were volunteers who responded to Hurricane Ian
 

“We’ve been waking up every morning to this devastation,” said one victim “and these guys are just the bright part of our day.” “Now that you’re here, I’m not overwhelmed anymore,” said another. “I’m going to be able to survive this and put everything in my life back together. People helping people is the silver lining of the whole disaster.”

Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard developed the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program in the mid-1970s to empower people wishing to help those in need. “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well,” he wrote.

The tools he developed for the program are now available as free online courses on the Scientology and Volunteer Ministers websites. 

It is this training that makes the difference between someone who wishes he could help and someone who knows he can and does so whenever the need arises.

For the full impact of the Volunteer Ministers program, watch Operation: Do Something About It a feature-length documentary on the Church of Scientology global response to the pandemic. Produced by Scientology Media Productions, the film is available on the Scientology Network on DIRECTV Channel 320, DIRECTV STREAM, AT&T U-verse, and streams at Scientology.tv, on mobile apps, and via the Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV platforms.

Since launching with an introduction by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige in March 2018, the Scientology Network, available in 240 countries and territories in 17 languages, has earned 135 industry awards. From 2020 to 2023, the network introduced more than 20 million new people to Scientology. 



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