Alma Powell, chair of the board of directors of America’s Promise, presented an award to Mayor William D. Euille designating Alexandria as one of America’s Promise’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. The presentation at City Hall highlighted the kickoff of the City’s Youth Master Planning Process.
To further enhance the quality of life for its youth, the City Council established the Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission to advocate for Alexandria’s children and youth, aged prenatal to 21 years, and their families by advising City Council, the School board, and City and School staff on policies that affect children, youth and their families; promoting the coordination, alignment and effectiveness of services provided to children, youth and their families by the City, Alexandria School and private organizations and studying and promoting research and best practices. Members are appointed by the City Council and Alexandria School Board.
The first major initiative is the development of a Youth Master Plan to be completed in 2013. The Commission also used the occasion of the reception to kick off the development of the plan. Commission Chair Tammy Mann, and Youth Master Plan Design Team Co-Chairs, Gregory Hutchings, Jr. and Cynthia Skinner invited members of the community to join them in developing policies and practices that support children, youth, and families and build a foundation for a strong vibrant city. They urged citizens to be part of a youth master planning process that will bring together key stakeholders – including young people, parents, city government, the school district, businesses, community and faith-based organizations, and others – to set long-term, community-wide priorities for young people and identify specific action steps toward those goals.
They announced plans for three upcoming forums, and attendees to save the following dates:
Saturday, February 9, 2013
T. C. Williams Cafeteria, 3330 King Street - - 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Monday, February 11, 2013
Charles Houston Center, 901 Wythe Street - - 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
William Ramsay Center, 5650 Sanger Avenue - - 10:00 a.m. – Noon
The 100 Best award recognized the achievements of more than 22 City and community youth initiatives and programs, including such accomplishments as Alexandria City Public Schools recent winning of the Magna Award, a national program sponsored in part by the National School Boards Association, which recognizes best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. The Schools won the award for their five-year Strategic Plan.
Recognition was also given to: the Fund for Alexandria’s Child, which promotes community awareness and support for foster children and youth at risk of abuse and neglect. Monies raised by the Fund allow these children to participate in activities that other children take for granted such as dance, art or karate lessons, summer camps, field trips, scouting and team sports; the Space of Her Own mentorship program to take classes on healthy habits, communications and art; the Alexandria Housing Authority’s Ruby Tucker Center, for their support of at-risk youth; and community engagement efforts of the Gang Prevention Community Task Force, Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, and the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria.
One of the highlights of the evening was the performance by the George Washington Middle School Orchestra. The "Voices of Resilience" documentary about Alexandria youth and parents who have found strength in the face of adversity, was also recognized for their winning entry in the Youth Category of the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Media Contest.
The Commission is seeking input from the community in developing policies and practices that support children, youth, and families. To participate in the planning process, contact Ron Frazier at 703.746.5967.
Alexandria will receive a $2,500 grant, signage identifying the community as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People, and access to America’s Promise Alliance’s community development resources.