September 2021
Alexandria Hosts 8th Annual Youth Leadership Conference

On August 10-12, 52 youth attended the 8th Annual Alexandria Youth Leadership Conference, a free event for rising 9th-12th grade students that empowers emerging young leaders by providing training opportunities and connecting them to resources in the Alexandria community. Workshops presented this year included:
  • "Mental Health: Prioritizing Our Well-Being," presented by the Keep It 360 Peer Advocates, a group of Alexandria youth that work closely with SAPCA, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy and the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center to support prevention and outreach efforts.
  • "Self-Care for Leaders," presented by Alexandria City High School Student Helen Cooper 
  • "Mindfulness for Real Life," presented by Gina Rollo White, 
  • "Empowered Youth, Today and Tomorrow," presented by Sindy Carballo Garcia from Tenants and Workers United
  • "Learn to Discern," presented by Cara Wright from the Alexandria Library
  • "Igniting Change Through Advocacy & Activism," presented by Chlo’e Edwards, a policy analyst at Voices for Virginia's Children, and
  • "The Art of Networking," presented by Tashana Pulliam, Secondary Schools Program Coordinator.
To facilitate youth-adult partnerships, the last day of the conference included an afternoon networking session with over 36 Alexandria community leaders.

The three-day event was hosted virtually by SAPCA, ACAP, the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and the Alexandria Library.

Youth that participated in the conference will receive updates throughout the year about internships, volunteer and leadership opportunities and other ways to get involved in the Alexandria community. If your organization has opportunities for youth that you'd like SAPCA to promote, contact
City of Alexandria Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and National Recovery Month in September, City Hall was illuminated in teal to represent addiction recovery awareness August 29 - August 31.

The goal of International Overdose Awareness Day is to end overdose incidents; remember—without stigma—those who have died; acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind; and raise awareness that substance use disorders can be successfully managed with treatment.
Volunteers also conducted outreach at Market Square August 29-31 to raise awareness and connect community members with resources, including Narcan, fentanyl test strips, medication lockboxes, drug disposal bags, and information about permanent drop box locations in the City of Alexandria.

Drug overdoses and overdose-related deaths increased dramatically in 2020 across the nation and in Virginia. This increase was driven by the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine in unregulated drugs, powders and pills. Fentanyl is often pressed into pills and combined with other substances without the user’s knowledge—consuming even a small amount can lead to an overdose.

To learn more about preventing opioid misuse and its harmful effects, visit
Supporting Our Community During National Suicide Prevention Month

Nationally, one in five Americans live with a mental health condition. Nearly one in five youth will experience a mental health challenge such as depression or anxiety at some point during their life, and suicide remains the third leading cause of death in this age group. We can all help prevent suicide. Every year, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness during National Suicide Prevention Month. 

What can you do?

  • Dispose of unused or expired medication safely. Nineteen percent of people who complete suicide use poison or medication. Limiting access to these lethal means is one way you can help prevent suicide in Alexandria. Learn more about safe medication disposal.

Supporting Healthy Youth and Healthy Families: Back-To-School Edition

With the start of school, SAPCA encourages families to talk with children and teens about substance use and misuse. Check out these ideas for starting - or continuing - the conversation:

  • Make your values clear about substance use - particularly underage use of substances - with children and teens. 
  • Have a conversation about family rules and consequences. Topics to discuss together could include:
  • What is a realistic curfew for week nights? Is curfew different on weekends?
  • What are some of the potential consequences of arriving home past curfew? How might these consequences change if communication takes place to explain a delay?
  • Talk about the health, legal and social consequences of using substances like alcoholmarijuana, and e-cigarettes and misusing prescription and over-the-counter medication
  •  Know the legal consequences related to underage use of these substances. It is illegal for anyone under 21 to use, purchase or possess alcohol, marijuana or tobacco products. It is also illegal for anyone over 21 to provide alcohol, marijuana or tobacco products to persons under 21.

Click here to learn more tips for preventing youth substance use and misuse in our community.
Volunteer Spotlight: Recognition of Outgoing SAPCA Board Member

SAPCA extends our gratitude and appreciation to outgoing Board member Marie R. Divine. During her time on the Board, Marie used her knowledge, experience, and passion to support SAPCA in decreasing substance use in our community.

Marie also worked closely with SAPCA Vice Chair Kim Hyde to spearhead coalition fundraising efforts. We wish Marie the best and are so appreciative of all her hard work during her active involvement with SAPCA!
Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria Recognizes 2021 Community ChangeMakers

The Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria (CCNA) awarded Natalie Talis and Allen Lomax, both Alexandria health officials, with its 2021 Community ChangeMakers salute on August 23, 2021. This award is in recognition of their outstanding work in helping to develop the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and for leading the continuing community wide fight against COVID-19.

“The efforts from you and your colleagues are life-saving and clearly making a difference for our Alexandria citizens. Thank you!” said CCNA Board Chair Herve Aiken.

Natalie Talis is Population Health Manager for the City’s Health Department and Allen Lomax is a Consultant who chairs the Steering Committee Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria. Allen also serves as the SAPCA Chair. SAPCA congratulates Natalie and Allen for this well deserved recognition and thanks them for their dedication to the Alexandria community!
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Complete the Youth Philanthropy Council Design Survey Today!

Are you a high school student who wants to make an impact in your community? Take a brief survey by Monday, September 13 at 5 p.m. for a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card.

Your input will help guide the creation of a Youth Philanthropy Council in Alexandria that will help solve key issues in our community. Click here to take the survey!
DASH Goes Fare-Free

The Alexandria Transit Company, DASH, has announced it will launch its bus service overhaul, the New DASH Network, and the start of free service, as of September 5. 

The New DASH Network will provide more frequent service to more people across Alexandria. The network changes include implementation of frequent, all-day service on major transit corridors across the City in Old Town, Arlandria, Potomac Yard, Parkfairfax, the West End and the King Street corridor. These improvements mean buses will run every 15 minutes or less, throughout the day, seven days per week.

Visit for more information about fare changes, deadlines for purchasing passes or tickets, and other programs affected by this policy change. To learn more about the New DASH Network, visit
Junior Volunteer Program Announced with Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) has announced a brand new Junior Volunteer program for 16- and 17-year-olds, starting in September. This exciting and unique program will teach students about animal welfare, caring for animals, training, adoptions and more!

Junior Volunteers will start with an eight-session training course, which will run through December and offer a mix of in-person and virtual trainings. Trainings will teach animal safety, body language and handling, as well as other facets of animal sheltering like social media and even fundraising. Volunteers who complete the program will then be eligible to volunteer regularly at the AWLA in a variety of roles.

While registration for the fall program closed September 1, the program will be offered twice a year, during the Fall and Spring semesters. Click here to sign up to receive email notifications about new youth volunteer opportunities and events at the AWLA.
Wear It Well

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department urge Alexandria residents, businesses and visitors to “Wear It Well” by wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, whether vaccinated or not. This follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone should wear masks in indoor public settings in communities of substantial or high transmission.

Wearing a mask protects yourself, your family and your community from the current surge of the more contagious COVID-19 delta variant. In addition to wearing a mask in indoor public places, “Wear It Well” by ensuring the mask fits snugly over the nose and chin without gaps. Masks with multiple layers of fabric provide greater protection against transmission.

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
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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