The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Emma Beall Back in Alexandria

This+past+summer%2C+SAPCA+Coordinator+Emma+Beall+and+ACAP+Youth+Engagement+Specialist+Joy+Kone+facilitated+a+training+about+targeting+social+media+messages+towards+teens+with+ACAP%E2%80%99s+six+Youth+Peer+Educators+who+are+all+students+at+T.C.+Williams+High+School.%0APictured+left+to+right%3A%0ATop+row%3A+Joy+Kone%2C+Leah+Tibebu%2C+Emma+Beall%2C+Gwen+Roman%2C+Angelina+Hunt%2C+Sesen+Tesfay%0A+Bottom+row%3A+Christine+Dofour%2C+Maame+Akosua+Osei-Bonsu%0A
This past summer, SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall and ACAP Youth Engagement Specialist Joy Kone facilitated a training about targeting social media messages towards teens with ACAP’s six Youth Peer Educators who are all students at T.C. Williams High School. Pictured left to right: Top row: Joy Kone, Leah Tibebu, Emma Beall, Gwen Roman, Angelina Hunt, Sesen Tesfay Bottom row: Christine Dofour, Maame Akosua Osei-Bonsu

TC’s Emma Beall returns to lead the Substance Abuse Coalition of Alexandria

Abigail St. Jean and Leigh Welther

Emma Beall is working to prevent Alexandria teens from pregnancies and drug and alcohol abuse through a new program that she oversees, the Substance Abuse Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA). Beall, who is a T.C. class of 2013 graduate, earned her Masters Degree at Tulane University in five years and then went to work on solving youth public health problems.

Beall started her career in public health when she worked for this newspaper as a sophomore.  A multi-media campaign to help prevent teen pregnancy by the Alexandria Campaign to prevent Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) needed writers and Mark Eaton, an English teacher and the Theogony supervisor, pushed her to pursue the story. It was then that she found out that Alexandria had the highest teen pregnancy rate in northern Virginia. Beall was a first hand a witness to these issues while attending T.C. and thought teen pregnancy was easily preventable. She and her peers decided to form a club,Keep it 360, which has conversations about issues teens face and about youth leadership opportunities . Beall realized that her interests had changed from becoming a journalist to working in public health. “I loved how the work I was doing was making a difference,” she said.

She originally formed Keep it 360 as a way to connect to her peers by reaching them at an accessible place, school. After doing all the paperwork and finding a sponsor for the club, Beall said the hardest part was finding members to join; from dragging friends to meetings, making posters and telling everyone about the club to get people interested. Today Keep it 360 works to have real conversations with teens about pregnancy, underage alcohol and drug abuse.

Last year in Alexandria there were 50 opioid overdoses, seven of which were fatal. SAPCA  has organized four drug take back days a year to try make that number smaller. One permanent box was placed in Del Ray last January. Alexandria is the only city in Northern Virginia to have as many as four. Fifty-four percent  of people who misuse painkillers got them from a friend or a relative. Drug take back days were put into place so people can drop their unused medication in a safe place. Last year Alexandria collected over 1000 pounds of unused medication during drug take back days.

Beall’s advice to teens who are looking to get involved is to,” Be organized, persistent and patient.” . Beall also said ,”When volunteering learn how to handle getting rejected. Everyone has a lot on their plates and not being discouraged when people say no is important,” .

Beall encourages teens to get involved in a variety of projects and events to promote awareness. Titan Takeovers are teen nights that are hosted at different Alexandria rec centers throughout the year that are not exclusively for Titans and are open to all teens. Food, music, games, raffles and a photo booth encourage teens to come talk to adults and get involved. Another way to get involved is by Project Sticker Shock. It is an annual event in October that reminds people about how it is illegal to distribute or purchase alcohol for minors by placing warning stickers on packs of beer and on wine coolers. Alcohol Awareness Month is in April and is used to focus on alcohol related issues among youth. Beall hopes to produce a highlight video about the teens in Alexandria that do not drink. Research from 2016 shows that alcohol usage in teens has decreased since 2011.

Donate to Theogony

Your donation will support the student journalists of Alexandria City High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Theogony

Activate Search
Emma Beall Back in Alexandria