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Alexandria Youth to be Supported with Master Plan

Margaret Summers | 11/13/2013, 3 p.m.
Tim Peterson, chair of the Children, Youth & Families Collaborative Commission Travis Riddick

The draft Youth Master Plan is divided into six Community Priority Areas: Supporting Social, Emotional, Intellectual and Physical Growth; Empowering and Equipping Families; Creating Caring Networks and Systems; Promoting Equity and Nurturing Cultural Connections; Improving Economic Opportunity; and Data, Implementation and Fiscal Accountability. Accompanying strategies ensure each priority is carried out.

Tim Peterson, 44, chair of the Commission, said once the Youth Master Plan begins, possibly by July 1, 2014, city agencies charged with supporting children and youth will request additional funds in their annual budgets from the city council that would help them with implementation. Nonprofit groups would request plan implementation funds in their grant proposals. “There’s no big pot of money for implementing the plan. Existing funds and resources will be used to implement it,” Peterson said. He also said volunteers are needed to assist the Commission in the plan’s implementation.

Following the meeting, Joyce Rawlings, 63, a Design Team member who works for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said that some funding should be dedicated to publicizing the plan, and involving the public in its implementation. “I don’t mean more money [for social services programs], but at least hire a consultant to communicate the plan to the public, to get the word out,” said Rawlings. “When you commit money, you get results.”

Alexandria City Council member John Chapman, 32, also stressed increasing community involvement in the plan. “If the communities are not involved, the plan gets lost,” he said.

“I’m disappointed in the turnout for today’s meeting, but other meetings about the plan had great turnout,” said Carol Farrell of the Department of Community and Human Services’ Early Childhood Division. “We just have to encourage community participation, which is key to [successful implementation of] the plan.”

Alexandria residents interested in posting their comments about the plan online can visit http://apps.alexandriava.gov/WebComments/CommentBoardSummary.aspx?id=37.