DRAGG (Drag Racing Against Gangs and Graffiti) is a program within Santa Barbara Police Activities League, a nonprofit agency that provides an after-school automotive program for high school students in the Santa Barbara area.

Community members are invited to see the newest automotive training facility for high schoolers at DRAGG's grand opening, noon Saturday, March 3, at 926 Indio Muerto. Chick-fil-A will offer food and share job opportunities.

There also will be a free benefit concert, featuring Raymond Michaels performing A Night with Elvis, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Arlington Theatre. Thanks to a donor, there is no charge for the concert.

A Show and Shine car show is planned for 1-5:30 p.m., also on March 11.

DRAGG's goal is to provide a positive environment for youth to improve their self-worth by learning marketable skills in the automotive industry.

The program aims to prepare young people for a productive life with mentorship from volunteer law-enforcement officers and citizen volunteers, resulting in continued education and job placement.

A perceived lack of opportunity and positive influences can contribute to a child’s likelihood to drop out of school and join gangs.

DRAGG empowers youth to expand their view of the world by using the automotive industry to showcase job opportunities with limitless earning potential.

The program reinforces that through hard work, self-respect and discipline, a successful life is possible.

DRAGG has formed partnerships with the Santa Barbara School Districts and the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Through classroom education, the DRAGG shop, is a functioning automotive repair garage in which youth are taught auto mechanics by an accredited teacher.

In addition to the teacher, the students will be introduced to local law-enforcement officers and citizen volunteers, who will act as mentors and classroom assistants.

Students can participate in field trips DRAGG will provide, offering learning opportunities to stimulate the thought process and allow youth to dream outside their neighborhood.

— Anthony Wagner for Santa Barbara Police Department.

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