July 2020 Newsletter
Announcements & Upcoming Events
Register for Alexandria's 2020 Youth Leadership Conference!

SAPCA and the  Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) invite incoming 9th - 12th graders residing in Alexandria to register for our annual Youth Leadership Conference. The conference will provide youth with opportunities to participate in engaging sessions focused on:

  • Navigating through challenging times
  • Engaging in the process of community healing
  • Learning from inspiring local youth leaders
  • Building advocacy skills
  • Networking and interviewing

This year, the conference will be held virtually. To register,  please complete this form.

To facilitate youth-adult partnerships, a networking event will take place on  August 13  with some of Alexandria's most prominent community leaders. This is a great opportunity for youth to meet Alexandria's community leaders and learn about volunteer and leadership opportunities available in Alexandria.
Community Leaders, Attend the Youth Leadership Conference 

Community leaders, SAPCA and ACAP cordially invite you to a virtual Networking Event with some of Alexandria's rising youth leaders, on Thursday, August 13, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Please register by August 3 using this form and you will receive a link to participate.
Together, ACAP and SAPCA are sponsoring the seventh annual Alexandria Youth Leadership Conference, an event to teach youth how to engage, lead, and advocate for issues in our community. While this conference is usually held in person, for everyone's health and safety, this year we will hold the conference virtually via Zoom. We anticipate between 25 and 30 young leaders will participate in the leadership conference, the same number as have participated in past conferences.
In addition to skill-building, the Youth Leadership Conference helps to strengthen essential building blocks for young people, or Developmental Assets, including a sense of feeling valued by their community, self-esteem, recognizing themselves as a resource to others and planning and decision-making.
The Youth Leadership Conference is excited to continue our annual Networking Event to encourage youth civic engagement in Alexandria. Our goal is to facilitate youth-adult partnerships by providing a virtual forum in which organizations can connect directly with Alexandria's youth leaders. Your participation as a leader in the Alexandria community is invaluable. Youth will have an opportunity to talk with you and other adult community leaders and learn about volunteer and leadership opportunities available in Alexandria. Youth have much to learn from your experience and are deeply connected to the work you are doing in our City.
This is also your opportunity to recruit youth who have the necessary skills to participate in your organization in a leadership position such as a member of your Board of Directors, Commission member or Committee Chair. Many Alexandria boards, commissions and community groups have space reserved for youth representatives or could be stronger if youth voices were included in the group. Unfortunately, many youth spaces remain consistently unfilled, or organizations do not think of including youth leaders on their boards. Our aim is to help build a network of youth leaders who can serve effectively and to help boards, commissions and community groups understand how to benefit from youth voices. We believe the first step is to have community leaders talk with youth to learn about their abilities and interests and to see where their voices and skills could fit within our community. To accomplish this, ACAP and SAPCA will work with you to:

  • Meet Alexandria's youth leaders at this Networking Event and throughout the year.
  • Help orient you as to why it is important or beneficial to have youth leaders on Alexandria's boards, commissions and work groups, and
  • Work with you to make sure that our city's boards and commissions know how to engage youth who serve with your adult leadership.
We hope you are able to join us for this important event. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact one of us listed below.
Allen C. Lomax                                  Helen Morris
SAPCA Chair                                      ACAP Chair
Volunteer Spotlight: Yaerelin Molina

Yaerelin Molina, a graduating senior that works as a Peer Advocate with the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center, was recently recognized for her volunteer work.  

"You don't have to be a superhero to make a difference," she said. "Simply by writing letters of encouragement can brighten someone else's day."

In the past few years, she has been involved in a number of programs designed to make Alexandria a better place for everyone, including taking part in efforts to pick up litter in Oronoco Bay and volunteering at Stafford Hospital. She also plans to continue her work with the   Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault.
Molina's work with survivors has set her path toward the future. She plans to earn an Associate of Science in Nursing first, and then work on her bachelor's at George Mason University or Virginia Commonwealth University. Her career goal is to become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

"Working as a Peer Advocate at the Sexual Assault Center has inspired me to continue to educate, guide, and support those who have been a victim of sexual assault and/or domestic violence," Molina said.

Please join us in congratulating Yaerelin for her involvement in making the Alexandria community a better place!
Mid-Year Training Institute Recap: Prevention, Progress, Possibilities

This July, SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) Virtual Mid-Year Training Institute, a world class training event that brings together prevention leaders and advocates interested in making a positive impact in their community. Held from July 26-30, 2020, over 3,000 attendees participated in more than 85 training sessions and workshops, networking opportunities and wellness activities, with a focus on teaching substance use and misuse prevention strategies. 

Training sessions were led by experts in the prevention field, coalitions from around the globe and federal agencies such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Key topics covered included: 

  • Coalition leadership
  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Evaluation and research
  • Marketing and communications
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Sustainability 

Emma's participation in this national conference is invaluable to learning new and innovative practices from other coalition leaders around the country, as well as federal and state prevention leaders. The knowledge and ideas Emma gained from the conference will further strengthen local prevention initiatives and support efforts to build and foster thriving relationships with community partners.
RAISE Celebrates First Birthday!

This month, RAISE (Resilience Alexandria: Inform. Support. Elevate.) celebrated its first birthday. Founded in July 2019, RAISE aims to bring community members together to build stronger, more resilient, trauma-informed communities. 
The virtual celebration used a kids' birthday format, including party games (pin the tail on a timeline of RAISE accomplishments and a "resiliency treasure hunt" that provided updates on the progress of the Community Mental Health/Resilience Plan), opening a  birthday card  and  presents, singing happy birthday, blowing out a candle while making birthday wishes for RAISE, and enjoying cake/treats.

Click here to view RAISE's present ,  a special video message from City leaders recognizing RAISE's efforts.

Click here to view the birthday card to RAISE,  signed by nearly 50 community members.

Sheriff's Office Virtual "Junior Deputy" Camp

Alexandria kids are invited to participate in the Sheriff's Office Virtual "Junior Deputy" Camp. Summer is a little different this year, but whether kids are at home, going to a recreation center, or participating in a modified camp program, they can still have fun. Every child who completes at least 25 of the listed activities by August 21 receives a "Junior Deputy" certificate and patch. There are many activities to choose from, including playing water bottle bowling; taking a virtual tour of Alexandria's Apothecary Museum; having family game night; and writing a letter to the Sheriff. Parents or adults are also welcome to email some photos of kids doing their activities for the Sheriff's Department to share on social media. This activity is free to participate, and no registration is required.
FDA Prohibits Sale of Disposable Fruit-Flavored E-Cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has told the makers of Puff Bars and other flavored disposable e-cigarettes and e-liquid products that appeal to youth to remove their products from the market. Puff Bar vaporizers look similar to Juul devices,  The Wall Street Journal reports. They are sold in fruity flavors, such as watermelon and blueberry ice, which appeal to minors. Earlier this year, the FDA took some sweet and fruit-flavored e-cigarette products off the market, but they did not restrict sales of disposable e-cigarettes with fruity flavors. The new rule closes that loophole.

"The FDA continues to prioritize enforcement against e-cigarette products, specifically those most appealing and accessible to youth," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a news release. "We are concerned about the popularity of these products among youth and want to make clear to all tobacco product manufacturers and retailers that, even during the ongoing pandemic, the FDA is keeping a close watch on the marketplace and will hold companies accountable."

Quick Links
City Recognizes National Minority Mental Health Month

This month, the City encouraged residents to learn more about the stigma of mental illness for Black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) to recognize Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Month.
The impact of racism-related events, chronic stress, and daily exposure to racism through micro-aggressions is significantly associated with higher risk factors related to poorer mental and physical health, depression and substance misuse. While mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity, these factors can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. 

Addiction - What Is It?

Addiction, or substance use disorder, is a chronic, complex brain disease that affects about 21 million, or 1 in 7, Americans, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's report Facing Addiction in America. Addiction compels people to seek out drugs despite any negative consequences that might be incurred.
As a disease, it hijacks the brain to create an intense craving for the addictive drug or behavior. That craving can override other thoughts and needs in the brain, including desires to care for an infant, build and maintain healthy relationships, work, have fun, take care of oneself, and protect oneself from harmful situations. It changes how you think and how you behave.

The life-saving opioid overdose drug, Narcan, is available at no cost from the  Alexandria Health Department   (4480 King St.). Narcan can save the life of someone who is overdosing from opioids, if given in time. 

To obtain the drug, the Health Department asks residents to call 703.746.4888 to make an appointment so staff can take appropriate safety precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Residents can also leave a message if there is no answer, and calls will be returned. Narcan is also available without a prescription at all pharmacies. 

For more information about opioids and the City's response as well as resources and treatment available to residents, visit  alexandriava.gov/Opioids
City Recreation Summer Activities

Registration for August classes and activities  offered by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is now open for Alexandria residents and nonresidents. Programs for a  variety of interests  are avail able for ages 6 months through adult. Summer camp registration is also open.

Register online at  alexandriava.gov/Recreation . For in-person registration, call the Registration and Reservation Office at 703.746.5414 to schedule an appointment. Additional program information will be provided after registration.

Additionally, the City has established a lottery system to provide equitable access to family open swim time slots at outdoor pools. For more information, visit  alexandriava.gov/Aquatics  or call 703.746.6909  
Supporting Safe and Healthy Summer Fun 

Summer is halfway through and it almost certainly looks different this year. You've had to change your routine, planned activities, and maybe even your finances as a result of safety precautions. You may have to go to work without your normal childcare available, or maybe you're at home with your kids and need to pivot to find activities that are safe and affordable. Here is a  sample daily calendar of activities  you can adapt to help keep your kids busy and safe this summer:

  • 8 AM Rise and Shine! Get ready for the day. 
  • 9 AM Cook/Get breakfast - what are some age-appropriate ways for your kids to help you prepare the meal? 
  • 10 AM Read a book & have them write daily summaries of what they take away from the book. Any talking points you can use from what they learn to relate to real life? Have them read in common areas that can be observed or in their room with the door open. 
  • 11 AM Get some fresh air! Get chalk and draw on the sidewalks or play hopscotch. Play-yard games like kick-the-can or red rover. Help pick weeds from the yard - make it a game - who can get the most? Check out this Nature Bingo idea from Alliance for a Healthier Generation. 
  • Click here to see the rest of the sample schedule! 

We know all kids are different, some may be more into reading while others may prefer to be outside. Be flexible and take what works from the above and add in what works best for your family.

Want to share how you are keeping your family safe and healthy this summer? Email  emma.beall@alexandriava.gov  or text 571-302-1022 for a chance to be featured in our August newsletter.
City Resources: Rent and Mortgage Relief, COVID-19 Testing Locations, Job Assistance and More

  • The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is continuing to work together with departments across the City of Alexandria as well as City partners to support individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Read about resources related to rent and mortgage relief, COVID-19 testing locations, job assistance and more by clicking here.
  • As programs and services have moved to Assistance from a Distance, Department of Community and Human Services staff have adapted and even increased service options in a wide variety of ways, including expanding access through telehealth. Learn more by clicking here.
  • For additional information about COVID-19, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus
Connect With Us
Alexandria Teen Life
Contact Us
Emma Beall, MPH
SAPCA Coordinator
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022
Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 
123 N Pitt St, Suite 225
Alexandria, VA 22314