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Coalition Plans Sept. 1 Meeting

All interested residents encouraged to attend planning session.

Coalitions work. This is evident by the accomplishments of the South County Youth Network Coalition, created last year by Burnette Scarboro.

Scarboro inherited this organization from Lynne Egge, who represented the West Potomac coalition. Working with Marie Purdy, who represented the Mount Vernon coalition, they joined forces and applied as a united coalition. They are now one organization representing Cluster IV, under the auspices of the Safe and Drug-Free Youth Section.

Since its inception a year ago, the coalition has achieved its goal of offering education programs to adults and youth in addition to spreading the substance and violence prevention message throughout the Mount Vernon and West Potomac communities by working with local agencies organizations, schools and the faith community. They have hosted gang awareness seminars, provided training for students, and supported summer mentoring program. They also provide stipends and support to other organizations such as Girl Power and The Alliance of Concerned Men, Inc.

South County Youth Network Coalition services citizens, businesses, schools, parents and faith-based organizations located in Mount Vernon and West Potomac Area.

The Mount Vernon High School pyramid includes Whitman Middle, Fort Belvoir Elementary, Mt. Vernon Woods Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Washington Mill Elementary, Woodlawn Elementary Woodley Hills Elementary and Mount Vernon High Center.

West Potomac High School pyramid includes Bryant Alternative High, Sandburg Middle, Belle View Elementary, Bucknell Elementary, Fort Hunt Elementary, Groveton Elementary, Hollin Meadows Elementary, Hybla Valley Elementary, Stratford Landing Elementary, Waynewood Elementary, Landmark Career Academy, Pulley Center and Quander Road School.

A planning session is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1 at the South County Government Center. Some of the items that will be discussed are: Community Outreach, Underage Drinking, Gangs/Bullying/CyberBullying, Girl Power, Life Skills, School Suspensions and After-School Programs.

Scarboro encourages anyone who is interested about any of the above topics to join them for this meeting. While she is paid a small stipend for serving as the Cluster IV Coalition representative, she considers herself a volunteer and relies on others to help facilitate the programs. All of the coalitions have been mandated this year to include more focus on under-age drinking awareness. Scarboro is also working with the Fairfax Partnership for Youth to find a new facility to house students when they are suspended from school; the existing center at Gum Springs has been closed.

ā€œI like to get things started and then turn them over,ā€ Scarboro said.