May 2019 
Highlights & Annoucements
Alexandria Community Unites to Address Suicide Prevention 

On Wednesday, May 8, SAPCA members attended a community presentation and discussion
on Suicide Risks and Prevention Across the Lifespan. Congressman Don Beyer, who represents Virginia's 8th District, served as the event's speaker and moderator. This event also featured a discussion panel with Marcia  Jackson, Ed.D., Director, K-12 School Counseling, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS); Officer Bennie Evans, Alexandria Police Department; and Rhonda Williams, LCSW Therapist and Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Department of  Community and Human Services. This event was hosted by Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria Community Services Board, Department of Community and Human Services, Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center, Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and Senior Services of Alexandria. The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Alexandria Health Department and Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia sponsored this event. 

As part of Virginia's comprehensive approach to suicide prevention, SAPCA distributed locking pill bottles and gun locks provided through Lock & Talk Virginia. Lock & Talk Virginia  aims to:
  • Prevent suicides by restricting access to firearms and poisons during a mental health crisis
  • Educate the community about how to recognize and respond to warning signs; and
  • Encourage others to pass on knowledge. 
Promoting safe and responsible care of lethal means, while encour aging community conversations around mental wellness, are vital to suicide prevention and wellness promotion.

Free locking pill bottles and gun locks are available for Alexandria residents through Lock & Talk Virginia. If you or your organization are interested in learning how to access these items, please contact Youth Development Team Leader Noraine Buttar at

To learn more about Lock & Talk Virginia, click here.
SAPCA Prioritizes Planning 

This month, the SAPCA Board of Directors held their annual Board Retreat. To kick-off this meeting, attendees participated in a vision activity by answering the question: " Imagine we're five years from now and we have successfully implemented our plan -- what are we seeing in Alexandria"  Attendees then broke into small groups to brainstorm activities to focus on in our action plan for the coming year. These items were then clustered together and labeled based on their general theme. At our next Board meeting, we will review each clustered list and continue the development of our next action plan. If you are interested in participating in this process or have ideas to offer, please contact Emma Beall at

Engaging and Inspiring Children, Youth and Families

On Thursday, May 16, 74 attendees from 16 organizations attended the 2nd annual Out of School Time For um.  This year's event focused on engaging and inspiring children, youth and families. Mr. Kwesi Rollins of the Institute for Educational Leadership kicked off the Forum with a talk focused on the importance of building and maintaining meaningful relationships between caring adults and our youth. Mr. Rollins also encouraged building trust with families as the secret sauce to better outcomes. 

During this forum, Youth Development Team Members Kim Hurley and Lisette Torres presented a breakout  session titled  "Youth Engagement: There's Levels to This."  They both emphasized the importance of focusing on sparks, the deep passions and skills that each and every young person has, and  intentionally building trusting relationships with youth by expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power and expanding possibilities.  The full presentation can be found here To learn more about this event and view all of the presentation materials for the workshop sessions, click here.
Senior Health and Fitness Fair Recap

SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall attended the Senior Health & Fitness Fair hosted by Senior Services of Alexandria on May 29 at the Lee Center. During this event, Emma shared information about how to safely dispose of unused and expired medication, along with flyers that provide updates regarding the City of Alexandria's efforts to address the opioid epidemic.  She also distributed locking pill bottles, drug disposal bags, gun locks, and SAPCA giveaway items. Thank you to Senior Services of Alexandria for inviting SAPCA to participate in this great event! 
Children & Youth Master Plan Updates
  • A  recent survey found that only 19% of Alexandria's youth report feeling valued by their community, and less than half (46%)  reportedly feel safe in their home, school, or community. To help understand and address these issues, members  of the City's newly formed Youth Empowerment Work Group conducted a "Listening Tour." They asked over 500 youth about why they think so few young people feel valued and safe in Alexandria. Their answers will help the Work Group develop their action plan for addressing this problem, which will be integrated into the next CYMP 2025. If you are a youth or caring adult and would like to join this work group, contact Chelsea Eickert  at
  • Interested in volunteering? The Children Youth and Families Collaborative Commission is looking for a note-taker to assist in taking minutes for their 2019-2020 meetings. Meetings occur once a month from 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at City Hall, with refreshments provided. No previous experience is required to volunteer. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact Chelsea Eickert at
T.C. Students Present Civic Action Projects to Local Stakeholders

Earlier this year, U.S. Government students at T.C. Williams High School jump-started their civic action projects in order to  learn how to identify a problem in our community, explore solutions, and develop public policy. Through a speed dating type of activity,  representatives from Children's Behavioral Health, Children's Protective Services, Sexual Assault Center, Alexandria Health Department, Alexandria Library, Volunteer Alexandria, ACPS Substance Abuse (SA) Prevention and Educational Intervention Service, Office of Human Rights, Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, The Neighborhood Planning and Community Development, ACPS School Board, City Council, Safe Space NoVA, and the Opioid Work Group  engaged students in their respective agency's work and helped them learn about our community's needs and resources.

This project culminated on
 May 22, when student groups presented their projects and policy proposals to these representatives. Topics covered included: school  lunch/nutrition, mindfulness in middle school, elementary  school curriculum, reduction of plastics, increasing minimum wage,  banning conversion therapy, cultural diversity in classes at T.C., the tardy policy, foster care, building relationships with police, and homelessness.
Expressions: A Mental Health Event 

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the KeepIt360  club hosted a series of mini workshops to address anxiety and depression. The first workshop featured an introduction to dance therapy, while the second workshop focused on defining anxiety and depression and providing information about tools to deal with stress. Special thanks to Andres Acosta, Giordana De Altin Popiolek and Amanda Gill for helping to make this event possible!
#FactOfTheMonth: Parents Who Host Lose the Most

With the school year coming to a close, many students are ready to celebrate the end of school and the start of summer -- and for some, the beginning of the next chapter.  While there is certainly cause to celebrate the academic achievement of graduating seniors, there are serious legal consequences for adults that provide alcohol to minors for any kind of party, including those occurring before or after prom. Under Virginia's Social Host Law, individuals

who purchase for, or otherwise give, provide, or assist in the provision of alcoholic beverages to another person when they know or have reason to know that such person was less than 21 years of age can face several consequences. These include

losing their driver's license for one year, receiving up to one year in jail and paying $2,500 fine for each young person who was provided alcohol. 
Have an idea for our next #FactOfTheMonth ? Email Emma Beall at

Nationwide Essay Contest Challenges High Schoolers To Explore Mental Health Stigma

The National Institutes of Health is inviting students ages 16 to 18 years old to participate in the " Speaking Up About Mental Health!" essay contest. Essays should explore ways to address the stigma and social barriers that adolescents from racial and ethnic minority populations may face when seeking mental health treatment.  The deadline for entries is May 31, 2019. Click here  to learn more about this contest.
Healthy Minds Art Contest Update

Please join the KeepIt360 club at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 4 from 3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. in T.C. Williams High School Room C214. They will be showcasing all of the Healthy Minds Art Contest entries and announcing the three contest winners.  Refreshments will be provided.  We hope to see you then!

2019 Refugee Poster Contest Information and Application

T his year's refugee poster contest will have prizes for two categories. The prizes are:
  • 1st place: $1,000 (one winner)
  • 2nd place: $500 (one winner)
  • 3rd: $100 (three winners)
The two categories and themes of entries are:
  • Rewriting Our Stories: Your artwork should represent your reflection of what it means to be a refugee and can be depicted in any form of art or expression.
  • Identifying Social Supports For Refugee Well-Being: Your artwork should represent Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs.
The top five submissions per category will have their artwork displayed at the 2019 3rd Annual Coalition for Refugee Wellness Conference at George Mason University on 6/21/19. Winners will be announced at the conference, but attendance is not required to win.

Application requirements:
  • Title and description of your submission
  • Name of student, grade level, and name of school attending
  • name of school principal and school district
  • Must be currently enrolled in recognized high school system
  • Identify submission category
  • Color photo of student suitable for website posting
  • All work must be the student's original submission
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted
  • Posters may be paper or electronic
  • Poster size no larger than 24" x 36"
  • Font size at least 25
  • Entries need to be submitted in high resolution
  • All submissions must be free of racism, discrimination or other themes that are considered offensive
Entries should be submitted to by June 6, 2019. 

For more information, contact Nhat Nguyen,, 703-219-2561.
Alexandria City Public Schools Announcements
  • Advanced Placement Boot Camp

    The Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Advanced Placement (AP) boot camp is designed for first time AP students in any course to help students focus on the skills necessary to successfully complete a year in Advanced Placement courses. Session one will run July 8 to July 19 and session two will run July 22 - August 2. Students will choose either a morning or afternoon session. Full course information is available here.
  • Athletic Physical Exams Available Start planning ahead for the 2019-2020 school year and get your physical now! Physicals are good from May 1 through June 30 of the following year. Mandatory forms available here.
  • Registration Open for Rising 7th - 12th Graders Interested in Crew
    The Summer Crew program is a great way to learn to row, build your skills, stay in shape and have fun! Alexandria Crew Boosters offers a variety of 5-week, summer rowing programs at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center.
    Sessions begin July 1 and run through August 2.
    Practice Times
    • Adult Sweep: 5:30-7:15 am
    • Youth Sculling 6:45-8:15 am
    • Youth Intermediate Sweep 7:00-8:45 am
    • Youth Novice Sweep 7:00-8:45 am
    Blue Plains Sprints: The summer season ends with a bang at our summer regatta, the Blue Plains Sprints. The Sprints will be held on the last Saturday August 3, 2019, 7:00 am to 9:00 am at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center, where everyone gets a chance to race.
    Registration and more information available at
Upcoming Community Events
City of Alexandria Summer Camp Begins June 24 - Register Now!

With 75 camp options, there's something for every interest for ages 2 to 17, including sports, creative arts, computers, nature, performing arts, excursions, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and Camp Adventure, Out of School Time and classic camps.

The complete listing of camp options, including Before and After Care options can be found in the   2019 Summer Camps Guide. Register online or in-person at the Registration & Reservation Office at Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St.
Interested in getting involved with SAPCA?
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