FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2008
City of Alexandria Featured in U.S. Conference of Mayors’
Best Practices Guide on Programs for At-Risk Youth
The City of Alexandria was featured in the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Best Practices Guide on At-Risk Youth and High School Dropout Prevention, released in January 2008. The Best Practices Guide highlighted twelve of Alexandria’s programs for at-risk youth, more than any other city featured in the publication. A variety of Alexandria’s programs were discussed, ranging from its mentoring programs to gang prevention and intervention, day reporting program, and parental involvement efforts.
One particular program, the Youth Education Services - shoplifting alternative program, has also received a national “Commitment to Service” award from Target Department Stores. The program works with first-time juveniles arrested on shoplifting charges. Participants must complete a six-hour home study kit and attend an eight-hour classroom session that helps them learn to identify feelings, thoughts, and actions behind shoplifting and ways to improve their decision-making skills. Participants must also write apology letters to the victims.
The program is a collaborative partnership between the City of Alexandria and the local Target Store at Potomac Yard in Alexandria. The classroom session is co-facilitated by Target’s Asset Protection Team members and an employee from Alexandria’s Court Services Unit. Curriculum materials are paid for by a local foundation grant. The City of Alexandria also provides the program to the Fairfax County Court System for a fee. The program has proven to be highly effective, with ninety-five percent of class participants having no additional larceny charges since completing the program.
For more information, please contact Linda Odell, Program Coordinator, at 703.838.4144, ext. 251, or visit www.usmayors.org/bestpractices/ary08.pdf.