March 2023


City of Alexandria Safely Disposes of Medication

Last month, the City of Alexandria safely disposed of 568.8 lbs. of unused, expired and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication. Medication was collected through the City's permanent medication drop boxes, which provide year-round access to safe drug disposal for all Alexandria residents.

Needles are not accepted in the permanent medication drop boxes. Dispose of needles and syringes at a separate permanent drop box specifically for these items located inside the visitor's entrance at Inova Alexandria Hospital. The box is accessible at the same location and hours as the hospital’s drop off box for medications.

Medication is also collected twice a year during National Prescription Drug Take Back Days held each October and April. The next event will take place on Saturday, April 22 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Interested in volunteering to support outreach efforts at this event? Contact Emma Beall at [email protected] to learn how to get involved.

SAPCA Spotlight: Yaerelin Molina

This month, SAPCA is featuring Yaerelin Molina, an Alexandria City High School graduate, Northern Virginia Community College student and current Keep It 360 Peer Advocate. Learn more about Yaerelin, including what she has gained through her experience as a Peer Advocate, in her own words:

My name is Yaerelin Molina and I’m a first-generation Bolivian-American attending Northern Virginia Community College. It all began when I moved to Alexandria when I was a junior in high school. Although I felt nervous about transferring to a different environment, I was lucky enough to be presented with plenty of opportunities at Alexandria City High School -- opportunities that I didn’t know would get me to where I am now.

I was introduced to the program at school and became a Peer Advocate my senior year. Through this role, I’ve facilitated workshops and served as a resource for middle and high school students on topics of sexual and reproductive health, pregnancy prevention, sexual assault, healthy relationships, and substance abuse prevention for more than three years. Due to my experience as a Peer Advocate, I got the opportunity to become a Marketing Intern for Truth Initiative. As an intern, I work with the creative and brand teams to assist in marketing projects such as creating social audits and social listening reports, managing @truthorange social media channels, and engaging with users who are quitting nicotine. In addition, I’ve also continued to contribute to the environmental campaign by revamping cleanup kits, as tobacco products (including vapes) release toxins that are a significant threat to our environment. 

Outside of work and school, I go to the gym and go on adventures with my friends and family. I believe that taking care of your health and being able to share your space with others is just as important as turning in your homework on time. In order to ensure balance in my life, I create a schedule to keep track of daily activities. I also keep a to-do list where I write down smaller goals to complete throughout the day. Even if I cannot complete everything in one day, I try my best to bounce back and build upon my resilience. 

Please join us in recognizing Yaerelin for her hard work and dedication to support Alexandria youth to make informed choices about their health and future.

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.

Contact Felicia Parks at [email protected] to learn more about this program.

Project Citizen Students Attend Civic Engagement Fair

On February 28, 8th grade students at George Washington Middle School participated in a Civic Engagement Fair as part of Project Citizen, an interactive project-based learning model. Through this project, students work together to identify and study a public policy issue, research and evaluate options, select a solution to the problem, and develop an action plan to address this issue. 

During this event, students met with representatives from over 10 City, school and community groups to learn more about youth substance use, environmental policy, transportation and traffic safety, housing stability, food security, student safety, and access to mental health resources.

SAPCA appreciates this opportunity to connect with students to inform youth-led efforts focused on creating community change.

Call for Volunteers

Interested in making a difference in your community? Explore some of the ways youth and adults of all ages can get involved with SAPCA to advance our community's youth substance use prevention efforts:

Outreach team

What: Share information about healthy decision making with youth and families and promote upcoming SAPCA initiatives during community outreach events.

When: Outreach events generally take place during week day evenings and weekend afternoons.

Time commitment: Including set up and clean up, most outreach events are a total of two-four hours.

Event team

What: Work with the SAPCA coordinator and the event team to plan and host upcoming events by designing flyers, reaching out to key partners, and supporting event logistics.

When: Events generally take place during week day evenings and weekend mornings and afternoons. Communication about event planning can take place via phone, email, virtual and/or in-person meetings Monday-Friday during normal business hours based on volunteers' schedules. Volunteers may also complete tasks independently on their own schedule.

Time commitment: Including set up and clean up, most events are a total of two-four hours.

Project team

What: Support the coalition in carrying out initiatives in our action plan by working independently with the SAPCA coordinator and the Board of Directors.

When: Communication about event planning can take place via phone, email, virtual and/or in-person meetings Monday-Friday during normal business hours based on volunteers' schedules. Volunteers may also complete tasks independently on their own schedule.

Time commitment: Volunteer hours can be completed on a weekly or monthly basis depending on volunteers' schedules.

Op-ed author

What: Write opinion articles for local papers about key issues and events.

When: Communication about op-ed topics and key points can take place via phone, email, virtual and/or in-person meetings Monday-Friday during normal business hours based on volunteers' schedules. Volunteers may also complete tasks independently on their own schedule.

Time commitment: Volunteer hours can be completed independently on a weekly or monthly basis depending on volunteers' schedules.

No previous experience is required to volunteer and free food is available at most events. 

Contact Emma Beall at [email protected] or 571.302.1022 to learn more.

Save the Date: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Did you know that National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is taking place March 20-26? This annual, week-long, movement inspires dialogue about the science of drug use and addiction. It also provides an opportunity to bring together scientists, students, educators, healthcare providers, and community partners to help advance the science, so that we can improve the prevention and awareness of substance misuse in our own communities and nationwide.

Check out these ways to recognize National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week this spring:

To learn more facts about alcohol and other drugs during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week and year-round, visit

Get Involved: Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action

Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action is back – and this year, youth advocates across the country will join together to call Big Tobacco’s bluff and expose them for who they really are: jokers who gamble with people’s lives. It’s time to raise the stakes on Big Tobacco. Here are several ways to get involved:

  • Educate yourself and those around you to support and empower friends and family to make informed choices about their health and future.
  • Help raise awareness about the dangers of using e-cigarettes and inspire youth to stay substance free. Share these videos on social media and tag three others to share them with their own networks.
  • Share facts on social media that expose the tobacco industry’s rhetoric against reality. Use these sample social media posts or create your own.  

Explore other ways to get involved here.

Take Down Tobacco Day is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Quick Links
Learn More About SAPCA
Upcoming Events & Resources

Save the Date: Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria

Each year during Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria, Volunteer Alexandria recognizes and honors the work of volunteers who give their time and expertise to make our City a better place for all of us. This year's event will take place on April 20, 2023 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. While this is a free event, all must register online to attend due to limited space. Click here to register online for this event.

There's also still time to nominate outstanding volunteers who have selflessly committed time, energy, and skills to help an organization further its mission within the Alexandria community in 2022. All nominees will be highlighted via social media and at this event. Nominations are due by Friday, March 3. Click here to learn how to nominate star volunteers.

RSVP for CareerCon: A Post-Grad Masterclass


On March 13 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce will be hosting CareerCon, a post-grad master class for high school & undergraduate students in pursuit of professional goals. Attendees will hear from professionals in a variety of industries and learn skills that never appeared on a syllabus. Students who attend the entire event will be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship! The winner will be selected at random during the closing session.

This free event for students will take place at Northern Virginia Community College’s Fine Arts Building

(5000 Dawes Ave, Alexandria, VA 22311). Click here to register for this event.

Equal Justice Initiative Racial Justice Essay Contest Now Open

The Equal Justice Initiative in partnership with the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project is pleased to announce a scholarship contest open to 9th – 12th grade students attending public high school in Alexandria, VA where prizes totaling at least $5,000 will be awarded to winning participants.

Students are asked to examine the history of a topic of racial injustice and to discuss its legacy today. Essays should explain the chosen topic using a specific historical event(s), explore how the injustice persists, and imagine solutions for a future free from racial injustice. Students are encouraged to reflect on how the topic impacts their own lives and communities. The deadline to submit an essay is March 17, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be announced this spring

Click here to learn more about the contest and local resources available to assist students in entering this contest.

Applications Open for Junior Docent Program at Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Do you know a student who enjoys learning about history and talking about what they know? Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s Junior Docent Program is a wonderful way to encourage their interest and enthusiasm! Students accepted into the Historic Alexandria program are trained in museum information and presentation skills. Then, they provide tours Sunday afternoons during the summer, while practicing speaking skills and engaging visitors of all ages. Each year in March, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum accepts applications from 4th through 6th graders interested in participating in the Junior Docent Program. Junior Docents build confidence and public speaking skills by learning the museum tour and talking with museum visitors Sundays during the summer. The 2023 application is now live and due by March 24. Click here to view the application.

Alexandria Library and Washington Wizards Winter Reading Challenge Begins

The Alexandria Library has once again partnered with the Washington Wizards to sponsor the Winter Reading Challenge for early readers, kids, and teens. The challenge builds a positive reading culture and improves literacy for youth. Readers can earn prizes by completing activity challenges.

The reading challenge will run virtually on Beanstack, a reading application that makes it easy for participants to register, track their reading and earn virtual badges for completion. Readers who complete the challenge will be entered into a raffle to win a variety of prizes! The Wizards Winter Reading Challenge is free and open to all youth in the DMC area. The contest runs until March 31, and prizes will be distributed in April. Learn more here.

Register for Breaks With Impact -- Doing Good in the Neighborhood

Hosted by Volunteer Alexandria, Breaks with Impact is a community engagement program open to students in grades 6-12 to learn about the issues facing their community and to do something about it. Participants engage with non-profits, city agencies, and people from all walks of life as they earn service hours and explore career paths. This spring, Breaks with Impact will take place on April 4, 5, and 6. Learn more and register today at

Save the Date: Spring 2023 Champions for Youth Summit

Join the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and Prevention Connections for an exciting opportunity to be part of the Champions for Youth Summit in Falls Church, Virginia on April 24-26, 2023. This event will convene hundreds of prevention professionals from around the country who are committed to exploring best practices to impact youth and young adults on topics such as tobacco and nicotine use, substance use, and factors that impact childhood obesity. Join hundreds of champions throughout government, nonprofits, public health, and more to explore and learn evidence-based practices that empower youth to make healthy choices. Learn more and register here.

City of Alexandria Releases 2023 Summer Camp Guide

The 2023 Summer of Smiles Summer Camps Guide is now available online, and in print at all City of Alexandria recreation centers. The guide contains 75 camp options available to youth ages 2 to 17, including sports, creative arts, computers, nature, performing arts, excursions, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Camp Adventure, Out of School Time and classic camps. Campers get the most out of summer by participating in a different camp each week.

Extended care options are available for most camps to enhance the fun and provide parents extra time, including Before Care from 7 to 9 a.m. and After Care from 4 to 6 p.m. Structured activities include arts and crafts, movies and games. Registration for 2023 Summer Camps offered by the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is available online, or in-person at any of our recreation facilities.

To register for summer camps and other recreation activities, classes and programs, visit or contact the Registration and Reservation Office at 703.746.5414.

COVID-19 Reminders

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to help end the pandemic by wearing a mask over both your nose and mouth, washing your hands frequently, and getting vaccinated. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Every Alexandrian can take precautions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about how to protect yourself and those around you at
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 
123 N Pitt St, Suite 225
Alexandria, VA 22314