Armstrong brings focus to serious issues
It's hard to miss the many news headlines reporting crimes related to drug use or tragedies that stem from incidents of physical and mental abuse — from online bullying cases to driving accidents caused by texting on the road or driving under the influence.
That's why county officials and professionals are working proactively to prevent these tragedies and crimes from happening by hosting a Community Awareness Day on Monday evening in Lenape Technical School in Manor.
The family-friendly event, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., will kick off a weeklong discussion in area schools addressing one or more of those issues.
“The key is to raise a level of prevention awareness,” said District Judge J. Gary DeComo, who first spearheaded the annual event nine years ago.
“Most of the major criminal cases we have today are the result of prescription pain medication or heroin,” he said. “Most of the heroin addicts I see were first addicted to pain medications.”
DeComo noted that the prevention message is crucial because once users become addicted, recovery is a life sentence.
“Our local kids are getting addicted to pain relievers and progress to using a combination of medications and heroin,” he said. “All heroin addicts and their families have one thing in common: They never thought it would happen to them.”
The Community Awareness Day event has expanded over the years under the collaborative efforts of Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi, HAVIN's Director Jo Ellen Bowman, county Sheriff Larry Crawford and representatives from law enforcement and from multiple area businesses and agencies, including Armstrong County Community Foundation, Armstrong County Children, Youth and Family Services, Holy Family Services, ACMH Foundation and the Armstrong County School District.
Many of those representatives are featured in a video discussing a variety of prevention and awareness topics that will be shown to students (grades 7 through 12) within Armstrong School District, DeComo said.
Elementary school students will have the opportunity to fill out an Armstrong County Community Awareness Day school pledge against bullying and against alcohol, tobacco and illegal-drug use.
DeComo said that Community Awareness Day is an important resource because it allows those involved to address issues that need the most attention.
“Every year, we deal with a different aspect,” he said.
This year, he said, there will be a discussion on the perils of texting while driving.
Bowman said her message will focus on issues related to elder abuse; child abuse and neglect; and domestic and sexual assault prevention.
“We really need to come together as a community to work with each other and for each other to combat these crimes,” Bowman said.
“I'm really grateful for the concerted effort of the many professionals who put this together,” she said.
Monday's event at Lenape Technical School will include food, crafts, clowns, magicians, jousting, sumo wrestling, video games, family photos and music.
Other sponsors involved in the event include Bill Barker/Barker Companies, F&M Bank, Dr. Paul Lobby, Lenape Technical School, Dr. Ryan Olsen, The Horse Trader and McDonalds (Franklin Village).
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny River being lowered Monday for work on Lock and Dam 9
- Fort Armstrong fest in full swing in Kittanning
- Historic markers added to Armstrong trails
- Police supporters meeting in Ford City
- Sidewalk sales mark unofficial start of Fort Armstrong Folk Festival
- Vendors at the heart of annual folk festival in Kittanning
- West Mahoning toddler run over by pickup truck
- Fees from transportation bill bolster Armstrong road work