City featured in Best Practices Guide

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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.

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