Happy New Year!
The Keep It 360 Peer Advocates wish you a happy and healthy 2024! This group of Alexandria youth work closely with SAPCA, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), and the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center to support prevention and outreach efforts.
This past fall, the Peer Advocates worked together to conduct after-school workshops about goal setting, facts about vaping, ways to respond to peer pressure, and healthy decision-making with over 100 middle and high school students. Please join us in recognizing the Peer Advocates for their ideas, energy, and dedication to supporting Alexandria youth to make healthy choices:
- Kahleia Green, Alexandria City High School (ACHS) freshman
- Odalis Zelaya, ACHS freshman
- Zhi McMillan, ACHS sophomore
- Larry Cox, ACHS freshman
- Kimoree Easter, ACHS sophomore
- Yaerelin Molina, Northern Virginia Community College student and ACHS graduate
- Chloe Yokitis, ACHS senior
- Khamille Muhammad, ACHS sophomore
We look forward to seeing what these youth leaders continue to accomplish in the coming year. To learn more about the Keep It 360 Peer Advocates, contact Felicia Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resolve to Dispose of Unused Medication Safely
As you kick-off the new year, we hope you will carve out some time to clean out your home medicine cabinet to support our community's efforts to safely dispose of unused, expired, and unneeded medications. Thanks to our community, in 2023 the City safely disposed of over 2,600 lbs. of medication, including 100 lbs. of medication collected in December 2023 alone.
Be in that number in 2024 by resolving to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including pet prescriptions, at these Alexandria drop-box locations:
Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray
Open Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Sun: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Inova Alexandria Hospital
Open daily from 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. by the Visitor's Center Lobby near the cashier's window.
Alexandria Police Department Headquarters
Available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, inside front entrance -- ring bell for access.
Needles are not accepted in permanent medication drop boxes. Dispose of needles and syringes at a separate permanent drop box for these items located at Inova Alexandria Hospital at the same location and hours as the permanent medication drop box.
Help eliminate opioid misuse and its harmful effects throughout Alexandria by learning more about the importance of safe medication disposal and sharing this information with others. You could save a life. Learn more at alexandriava.gov/opioids.
SAPCA Delivers Facts and Consequences Presentations to Bishop Ireton Students
On December 5 and 6, SAPCA presented Facts and Consequences to 111 freshmen students during health classes at Bishop Ireton High School.
During these presentations, youth learned about the health, legal, and social consequences of using alcohol, e-cigarettes, marijuana, and prescription and over-the-counter medication. Students also discussed tools to cope with stress in a healthy way and learned about the City of Alexandria's Teen Text Line. Through this free resource, teens and their parents can text TEEN, SEX, DRUGS, or GANGS to 571.640.2898 to get answers to questions on health, relationships, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, violence, and gangs within 24 hours, Monday through Friday, from trained City staff. Learn more about youth resources here.
SAPCA is appreciative of the opportunity to share this important information with students in our community and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with Bishop Ireton High School in the future.
Interested in supporting SAPCA to deliver Facts and Consequences Presentations?
Contact Emma Beall at email@example.com. No previous experience is required and all volunteers receive training.
Community Connections: An Introduction to SAPCA
Last month, the Alexandria Community Services Board (CSB) invited SAPCA to provide an overview of our coalition at an upcoming Board meeting. The Alexandria CSB is a group of 12 volunteers appointed by Alexandria City Council that oversee the use of public funds to provide mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services through the Department of Community and Human Services.
On January 4, SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax and SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall highlighted SAPCA's mission, partnerships, key activities, and community impact at the CSB's monthly meeting. This presentation can be viewed here.
Interested in having SAPCA present at an upcoming meeting? Contact Emma Beall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Presentation length and content can be tailored to meet your group's specific needs and interests.
SAPCA appreciates this opportunity to connect with our community and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to promote existing prevention efforts.
Fact of the Month: Appreciate Young People's Strengths
Each month, SAPCA will be highlighting a key fact to support our community to prevent youth substance use. This month we will be highlighting a resource from the Prevention Action Alliance that provide five quick tips to help you celebrate young people’s strengths in your day-to-day life.
Focus on the Good
Young people often receive judgment, whether from school, extracurriculars, or their peers. As a caring adult, you have the power to help young people recognize their own strengths rather than their shortcomings. Take notice of what the young people in your life do well and celebrate the good things that they do.
Authentic praise is based on seeing young people for who they really are and recognizing who they can become. Show that you appreciate the young people in your life by pointing out their strengths and good qualities, even when they are insecure. Think about of what makes you proud of your young person and focus on their strengths and values rather than their achievements.
Recognize Successes Without Ignoring Problems
Appreciating young people’s strengths doesn’t mean you have to ignore their mistakes. By knowing their good qualities, you can help young people change their behaviors without feeling ashamed. You can address problem behaviors while building upon a point of strength, which allows young people to gain confidence in their ability to solve problems and change their behavior.
Celebrate their Efforts
Show young people that you appreciate their efforts. Celebrating working hard on a project, staying positive about a tough situation, or keeping up with practicing an instrument can encourage young people to continue their efforts and work towards their goals. Recognize when their hard work or persistence pays off, too.
Model Positive Self-Talk
Remember that young people look to adults to learn how to treat themselves and others. Young people listen and pick up on the way you talk about yourself. try to celebrate your own strengths and avoid speaking negatively about yourself. By modeling positive self-talk, you can make a positive impact on the young people in your life and on yourself, too!
Explore resources to support youth in your life to make healthy choices at alexandriava.gov/SAPCA.
SAMHSA Issues FentAlert Challenge: Empowering Youth for Safer Choices
On December 1, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a challenge to America’s youth: Help us raise awareness about fentanyl and reduce teen overdose deaths. FentAlert: Empowering Youth for Safer Choices is an opportunity for youth, ages 14-18, to develop a community strategy to educate their peers about fentanyl and fake pills and prevent drug overdose deaths. Youth can participate individually, or as part of a team. The top six ideas will be awarded a $5,000 prize each, and up to 25 youth will receive a $2,000 honorable mention prize. Submissions are due by February 26, 2024 at 6 p.m.
Click here to learn more about the challenge, including how to enter. Please help spread the word about this opportunity to support young people’s voices for a future where they and their peers can thrive.
Upcoming Events & Resources
Alexandria Library Hosts Teen Winter Creativity Contest
Looking for a creative challenge this winter? The Teen Winter Creativity Contest is a self-expressive contest for writers, visual artists and photographers in grades 6-12. This year’s theme is “What moves you?” All three categories – writing, photography and two-dimensional visual art – are open-ended. Aside from format, there are no writing or artistic limitations. Alexandria Library will distribute prizes in each category:
- 1st Prize: $100
- 2nd Prize: $50
- 3rd Prize: $25
The contest runs from December 14, 2023 until February 12, 2024.
More information is available here.
Alexandria Library and Washington Wizards Winter Launch 2024 Reading Challenge
The Washington Wizards challenge you to read, stay active, and engaged this winter by completing the 2024 Wizards Winter Reading Challenge. Earn the reading badge and at least one other badge to complete the challenge and win a prize, as well as be entered to win the grand prize. Alexandria Library has everything you need to help you earn your Winter Challenge badges, from exciting reads for every age and interest, to events, to opportunities to share online.
The challenge runs from January 2 through March 31.Full contest details can be found at alexlibraryva.org/winter-reading.
Applications Open for Scholarship Fund of Alexandria
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) is now accepting applications. By completing the SFA application, students are considered for over 200 scholarships The application deadline is January 31, 2024 and students can apply here.
Additionally, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria will be holding weekly meetings every Wednesday after school in the Career Center Conference Room to support students in completing college or career-related applications, including but not limited to:
- The SFA scholarship application
- Other scholarship applications
- Financial aid applications, and
- College applications, and more!
Snacks will be provided during weekly meetings. Please reach out to Ms. Alyssa Samuel at email@example.com with questions.
Alexandria Teens: Join Youth Engaged in Service
Volunteer Alexandria's Youth Engaged in Service (YES) is inviting students in grades 6 through 12 to join YES. YES participants will engage with non-profits, city agencies, and residents in Alexandria to create and implement projects, as students earn service hours and explore career paths.
Youth voices and input will help determine what’s important and relevant for youth; expand the network of youth engaged in service; share ideas and help plan and create new programming; engage and mobilize peers to act; assess the city's volunteer needs for youth; and can improve how and what Volunteer Alexandria does to engage youth.
Youth Advisory Council Responsibilities and Expectations:
- Must be a resident of and/or attend a school in the City of Alexandria.
- Be a middle or high school student (grades 6 - 12).
- Participate on the Youth & Family Advisory Council for a minimum of one academic school year, and be an active member.
- Provide constructive views on issues.
- Represent Volunteer Alexandria in your school, your extracurricular activities, and amongst your friends and greater community.
Click here to express interest in becoming a YES committee member. If you have any questions, contact Cordell Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org