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Kittanning event raising money for Drugs Kill Dreams

| Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:56 a.m.

Walter Aguirre wants his young children to grow up in a neighborhood that's safer and better than the one where he was raised in Los Angeles.

The Rayburn resident is working to make that happen by hosting an event on Saturday that will help Drugs Kill Dreams — a program that exposes youths to jails and criminals with the hope of steering them away from a life of drugs.

“The way you stop drugs is to counter it with support from the community,” he said.

The Say No to Drugs event will feature more than a dozen food vendors and bands from 4 to 9 p.m. at Rosebud Mining at Market and Grant streets in Kittanning. Armstrong County law enforcement and governmental officials will give presentations during the event.

Like First Friday — a similar event started by Aguirre to raise money for charities — vendors at Say No to Drugs will donate a portion of their profits to Drugs Kill Dreams.

“We've had such a good turnout,” Aquirre, who owns a food truck business, L.A. Taco, said about First Fridays. “People drive from Butler, Sarver and Worthington to come out and show support. It's really neat to see the impact this has on our friends, family and community.”

Drugs Kills Dreams is a county program that offers tours of the jail to children 10 and older. The program aims to prevent drug use through the experience of seeing and hearing from those who didn't, Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi said.

“We do that to show them what kind of an environment they'd face if they chose drug abuse,” Andreassi said.

Money raised on Saturday will help cover the costs of running the program, as well as outreach, education and other materials.

Saturday's event is the first in which Aguirre has partnered with Drugs Kill Dreams.

“We're absolutely glad he got involved,” Andreassi said. “We've never used any public dollars to help this work. Saturday's event is continuing that.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315, or jmartin@tribweb.com.

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