June 2020
Project Discovery Awards Scholarships to Alexandria Youth

On June 9, Project Discovery Alexandria hosted a Virtual Student Recognition & Year End Celebration. Project Discovery prepares and supports low income and first-generation college-eligible students to access opportunities in higher education.  
Project Discovery Chair Bruce Milton presented opening remarks before introducing  Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, who delivered a keynote address to attendees. City of Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson presented scholarships to seniors and Dr. Cherie Brown, past Project Discovery Chair, presented alumni scholarships. The following students received $1,000 scholarships:
Senior Scholarship Winners
  • Adama Bangura - Old Dominion University
  • Abigail Lamptey - Virginia State University
  • Kamryn Powell - Norfolk State
  • Mariama Sangare - Virginia Tech
  • Danielle Williams - Virginia State University
Alumni Scholarship Winners
  • Fara Islam - University of Virginia
  • Fasica Negash - George Mason University
In closing, Jay McCargo, President and CEO of AR Services delivered final remarks. AR Services has provided academic scholarships and internships for past Project Discovery students.
Through workshops and trips to college campuses, Project Discovery provides vital information about how to set and achieve educational goals. This program is supported by a Project Discovery Advisory Board whose mission is to raise funds, promote community involvement and foster positive public relations.
To learn more about Project Discovery, contact Rashad Price at   Rashad.Price@alexandriava.gov
Save the Date - 2020 Youth Leadership Conference

SAPCA and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy will be hosting the 7th Alexandria Youth Leadership Conference August 11-13 open to rising 9th - 12th graders that reside in the City of Alexandria . For the first time, the event will take place virtually.

Topics covered will include leadership, navigating through challenging times, advocacy, networking and interviewing.

Youth interested in participating in the conference should text YLC to 30644 or email emma.beall@alexandriava.gov

Parents, Caregivers, and Caring Adults, You Matter!

Check out this brief video to learn about the important role parents, caregivers and other caring adults play in preventing substance use.
APC #ProtectOurYouth Campaign

SAPCA and Community Partners Collaborate to Distribute 
Locking  Medicine Boxes

This month, through collaboration with ALIVE!
and  Volunteer Alexandria , 240 locking medicine boxes were delivered at three food distribution events held throughout the City of Alexandria.

SAPCA and its partners distribute locking medicine boxes as part of Lock & Talk, Virginia's comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.

Why is it important to lock unused and expired medication?
  • More than half of individuals who misused painkillers got them from a friend or relative.
  • Locking medications is one way parents, caregivers, grandparents, relatives, and other caring adults can prevent abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medication.
  • Reducing access to prescription and over-the-counter medication can prevent accidental and intentional overdoses, as well as health consequences associated with medication abuse of any kind. These may include:
    • Sleepiness and disorientation
    • Increased blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature
    • Shallow/slowed breathing
    • Paranoia
    • Constipation and upset stomach 
    • Dizziness
    • Double or blurred vision
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Coma
Lock & Talk also provides gun locks to restrict access to firearms as one way to prevent suicide.  Free locking medicine boxes and gun locks are available for Alexandria residents. If you or your organization are interested in learning how to access these items, please contact Youth Development Team Leader Noraine Buttar at noraine.buttar@alexandriava.gov
Register for "The Rise of E-cigarettes: Implications for Public Health"

Registration is open for a webinar with Dr. Brian King on July 2 from 1 - 2 p.m.  During this event, Dr. King  will  discuss the latest information on youth e-cigarette use, including JUUL, and what can be done to protect youth from this preventable health risk. The presentation will describe the evolution of the e-cigarette landscape in the United States, discuss why youth are drawn to e-cigarettes and the health risks they face when using these products, and outline actions that can be taken to reduce these risks. Click here to register.

Youth Share Experiences During  Virtual Mental Health Forum

Alexandria youth were given space to share how the pandemic, racial, injustice, and other events have impacted their mental health during the most recent RAISE meeting. This event was spearheaded by the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center Youth Peer Advocates. 

Alexandria's Youth Peer Advocates have played a meaningful role in creating safe spaces for youth and assisting the Sexual Assault Center in supporting survivors and sexual violence prevention through education. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, the five youth from T.C. Williams High School laid the foundation for community-wide change, empowering their peers through workshops and forums, and spreading awareness with outreach and online social media campaigns. While in school, the teens spoke out about teen dating violence and the importance of healthy relationships. Since the COVID-19 crisis, they have touched on topics such as "Healthy Relationships in Quarantine" and "Self-Care in Quarantine" to meet the needs of their peers in this changing environment.

RAISE (Resilience Alexandria: Inform. Support. Elevate.) aims to bring community members together to build stronger, more resilient, trauma-informed communities. RAISE will be celebrating its first birthday at its next meeting on July 23 from 10:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. 

To sign up for the mailing list to receive RAISE updates, fill out this short registration form.

Click here to learn more about RAISE.
Registration Open for Virtual Job Fair 

Register and attend the Virginia Career Works Alexandria/Arlington Virtual Job Fair on Wednesday, July 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Network with employers via chat rooms, private chats and video chats, and apply and interview for jobs. Registration and attendance is free. Sign up now to access employer information, current postings and more. Click here to l earn more  about the event and how to register.

Healthy Youth, Healthy Families, Healthy Choices

A lot of things can increase the risk that a teen will have a problem with drugs,  including difficulties in school, problems making friends, and even the person's biology.  Another risk factor is living with a parent who uses drugs. A recent study offers a reminder that avoiding drug use is an important choice for the entire family.

The  study found that if a parent uses  marijuana, that can increase the risk that their kids living in the same household will use drugs.  Specifically, teens and young adults who lived with a parent who used marijuana were more likely to use marijuana,  tobacco , and  alcohol , and to misuse  opioids , than were those living in households where a parent did not use marijuana. The connection existed even if the parent(s) didn't use marijuana often, and even if they had only used it in the past.

When thinking about scientific studies, it's important to understand what their findings don't mean. In this case, the findings don't mean that if a parent uses marijuana, their teen or young adult will definitely use marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, or will definitely misuse opioids.  Thinking of all those  risk factors . Parents' drug use is another one of them, and none of the factors causes teens to use drugs-they just increase the risk that they will.

The study does note that screening family members for substance use and counseling parents on the risks of using drugs may be helpful in preventing the cycle of drug use in families.
We also shouldn't interpret the study findings as blaming parents if their kids use drugs. Parents can set an example, and while the study suggests that the example is important, choosing to use drugs the first time is just that: a choice.  

For teens, it's worth thinking about that choice, because, for some people, choosing to use drugs can lead to  addiction, where they can't stop using drugs despite the damage it can cause. 
Alexandria Celebrates Pride Month

The Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force and
 Alexandria Library held the first-ever virtual Alexandria Pride June 4-6.  Task Force members and community partners offered twelve educational and self-care workshops geared to all ages ranging from "Taste the Rainbow: Counseling History & Resources"  to "The Changing Legal Landscape for LGBTQ Virginians" to "Living our Truth: Stories from Transgender Virginians" to "Shake Your Groove Thang," which was the last workshop and a chance to dance it out!  It is and has been a difficult time, especially for LGBTQ People of Color.  While the in-person Alexandria Pride Fair had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshops turned out to be a surprisingly successful  alternative where community members could gather, learn, and support one another. 

For more information about the LGBTQ Task Force and i nformation for people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ), click here.
Congratulations T.C. Williams Class of 2020!

Alexandria dazzled in Titan colors of red, white and blue on Saturday, June 13 to celebrate the largest class in recent history to graduate from T.C. Williams High School and honor their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Class of 2020 saw 865 students receive diplomas in a virtual graduation ceremony that included Senator Mark Warner and Class of 2016 Titan and future Olympian Noah Lyles. The program of events featured a moving video tribute to our seniors who were asked to document their loves, their hopes and their fears during these unprecedented times.

For the first time in history the George Washington Masonic National Memorial spectacularly illuminated in school colors, recognizing the class of T.C. graduates, while across the city, homes were lit up as students celebrated with their families.

To date, a total of 569 of all new graduates have already indicated they will be attending college or university in the fall. A further 22 students have indicated their intentions to join the military and 39 have accepted jobs in the workforce.  Click here to view the ceremony.

Race-Based Trauma Resources and Support in Times of Civil Strife

Chronic stress can have negative side effects on everyone, particularly when it is compounded by multiple sources. Psycho-social factors, specifically including pervasive exposure to racism and discrimination, are a daily stressor for people of color, while also coping with the anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows this to be particularly true for African Americans. The City has developed a collection of  resources for coping with racism and trauma . Access a continually growing list of resources for and information related to coping with racism and trauma on individual, interpersonal and family, community and national and global levels.

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
Virtual City Events and Recreation Activities

Many City meetings, events and activities 
can now be attended virtually. Visit the City Calendar for a complete list of virtual events, workshops and meetings, as well as cancellations. Looking for some virtual fun? Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for a listing of #RPCAatHOME virtual and on-demand programs. Choose from fitness classes, concerts, story times and more. Programming is updated regularly; check back often
City Resources: Food, Coping, Jobs, Healthcare 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 new resources related to food, coping, jobs, healthcare 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
Contact Us:
Emma Beall, SAPCA Coordinator
Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 
123 N Pitt St, Suite 225
Alexandria, VA 22314
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022
emma.beall @alexandriava.gov