March 2024


Alexandria Youth Leaders Join City, School, and Community Partners at National Conference

Each year, youth and adult coalition members attend CADCA's National Leadership Forum, the largest training event for community-based substance use and misuse prevention leaders interested in making a positive impact in their community. This past winter, fourteen Alexandria City High School (ACHS) youth leaders and ten City, school, and community partners joined SAPCA's Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP) Grant Coordinator, Alina Selnick-Escobar, to attend this event.

Please join us in recognizing these prevention champions for coming together to learn about the latest strategies to fight substance use, misuse, and abuse and prioritizing collective action to best support youth and families in our community:

Alexandria Youth Ambassadors

  • Kamoore Marshall, ACHS freshman
  • Mila Krislynn Gardner, ACHS freshman
  •  Madeline Barrientos Recinos, ACHS freshman
  • Jammica Reindorf, ACHS sophomore
  • Nadia Hegg, ACHS senior
  • Olivia Bassingthwaite, ACHS freshman
  • Maya Gleaton, ACHS senior
  • Laiyonna Alaya Sanders, ACHS sophomore

The Alexandria Youth Ambassadors are a group of high school students that support community engagement efforts focused on anti-violence, trauma healing, and social emotional learning.

Keep It 360 Peer Advocates

  • Chloe Yokitis, ACHS senior

The Keep It 360 Peer Advocates are a group of Alexandria youth who work closely with SAPCA, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), and the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center to support prevention and outreach efforts.

Peer Advisors

  • Auybri Thomas, ACHS freshman
  • Unique Leach, ACHS freshman
  • Jamiya Gray, ACHS senior
  • Shenaya Lokko, ACHS sophomore
  • Teliyah Hillary, ACHS junior

The Peer Advisors mentor younger youth, give public presentations on prevention topics, and participate in community service projects. Through this afterschool leadership program, Peer Advisors also participate in trainings about peer pressure resistance skills, tobacco prevention, mediation, leadership, and public speaking.

City, School, and Community Partners

  • Kim Hyde Santucci, SAPCA Vice Chair, Marketing Consultant
  • Fredy Martinez, SAPCA Board Member and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services Coordinator
  • Sharon Lee, ACPS Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services Coordinator
  • Alina Selnick-Escobar, STOP Act Grant Coordinator
  • Sheila Purce, Youth Development Specialist and Project Discovery Coordinator
  • Tashana Pulliam, Secondary Schools Program Coordinator
  • Lamont Bruce, Youth Development Counselor
  • Dr. Temi Aregbesola, Training and Prevention Specialist
  • Valeria Antelo, Youth Development Counselor
  • Asia Jones, Youth Engagement Specialist
  • Emily Bentley, Opioid Work Group Coordinator

Youth leaders and City and school staff attended sessions about equity in prevention, global health, enforcing underage drinking laws, public speaking, youth engagement best practices, and the dangers of fentanyl. As the landscape of substance use challenges continues to shift and evolve, the need for up-to-date evidence-based research, resources and strategies are paramount to making progress towards ensuring safe, healthy, and drug-free futures for our youth. As individuals and together as a community, we have the power to create positive, lasting change that can transform our communities and ensure safe, healthy, and drug-free futures for our youth.

Community Connections: Promoting Family Resources

This winter, SAPCA collaborated with our school and community partners, and parent leaders, by promoting prevention resources. Check out some of these partnership highlights:

  • On January 18 and February 2, SAPCA presented Facts and Consequences to 143 middle school students during health classes at Jefferson Houston K-8 IB 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 ways to respond to peer pressure, brainstormed ways to cope with stress in a healthy way, and played "prevention bingo" to reinforce content learned.

  • On January 22 and February 12, STOP Act Grant Coordinator Alina Selnick-Escobar shared resources with parents at two Family Resource Nights hosted by ACPS. During these events, families discussed barriers to school attendance, brainstormed solutions to support students, and learned about community resources. SAPCA distributed information about youth substance use prevention efforts, flyers about the dangers of fentanyl, brochures highlighting the Developmental Assets -- the building blocks for healthy development -- and parent handbooks. Developed by Operation Parent, these handbooks raise awareness about the latest trends, warning signs, and tips for effective parent/child communication.

  • On January 29, SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax and SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall provided an overview of SAPCA to parents during the ACHS PTSA meeting. Parents learned about SAPCA's mission, partnerships, key activities, and community impact. This presentation can be viewed here.

Interested in having SAPCA present at an upcoming meeting? Contact Emma Beall at [email protected]. Presentation length and content can be tailored to meet your group's specific needs and interests.

SAPCA appreciates these opportunities to connect with our community and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to promote existing prevention efforts.

Keep It 360 Peer Advocate Program Update

Hear directly from Northern Virginia Community College student Yaerelin Molina, ACHS sophomore Khamille Muhammad and ACHS senior Chloe Yokitis as they highlight recent prevention efforts:

Empowering Youth Voices: Alexandria Youth Ambassadors Advocate for Safety and Resilience


On January 23, the Alexandria Youth Ambassadors presented recommendations for the City's Youth Safety and Resilience Initiative to the Alexandria City Council. Drawing from feedback provided during the Youth and Caring Adult Summit and several focus groups, youth highlighted four key recommendations: communicating about resources in the community, creating a dedicated teen space, tailoring transportation options for youth, and providing diverse programs for teen engagement. The Alexandria Youth Ambassadors hope that these recommendations will transform into actionable items and contribute to a safer and more resilient environment for all Alexandria youth.

Please join us in recognizing the Alexandria Youth Ambassadors for their hard work developing these recommendations and sharing this information with local leaders!

Click here to view a recording of this presentation.

Medication Disposal Recap

At the beginning of 2024, SAPCA encouraged residents to clean out their home medicine cabinets to support our community's efforts to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Thanks to our community, the City safely disposed of 120 lbs. of medication collected from Alexandria's permanent medication drop boxes.

Looking for other opportunities to dispose of unused, expired, and unneeded medications? Save the date for the City's upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27, 2024 -- stay tuned for more information about drop-off locations. You can also dispose of medication year-round, including pet prescriptions, at Alexandria's three permanent medication drop boxes.

Visit to learn more about the importance of safe medication disposal and share this information with others. You could save a life.

Quick Links

Learn more about SAPCA
Subscribe to SAPCA's e-mail list
Make a tax-deductible donation to support local prevention efforts
Upcoming Events & Resources

Nominations Open for Youth Volunteer Services Award

Each year, Volunteer Alexandria hosts Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria, an annual event to celebrate volunteers who give their time and expertise to make the City a better place. Volunteer Alexandria is seeking nominations for the Youth Volunteer Service Award. Nominate a student who has made a positive impact on either their school, community, or city for this award by Tuesday, March 11. Click here to learn more.

Connect With Us
Facebook  Twitter  Youtube  
Alexandria Teen Life
Instagram  Twitter  
Contact Us
Emma Beall, MPH
SAPCA Coordinator
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022

Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 

4850 Mark Center Drive

Alexandria, VA 22311