To the Editor:
I am a proud 16-year citizen of Alexandria. One of the things I love most about living here is the city’s commitment to creating a caring environment and fulfilling the needs of its citizens. As a taxpayer, a member of the Alexandria Council of Human Services Organization, and the executive director of the Parent Leadership Training Institute of Alexandria (PLTI), I often speak of the importance of civic engagement and creating opportunities for our citizens to become advocates for themselves and their communities. This is why I support the city’s latest initiative, “What’s Next Alexandria?” which is bringing residents together to formulate ideas on how Alexandrians can play a larger role in the public decisions that shape the city.
Of course, the goal of bringing new voices to our community tables, boards, commissions, and schools colors everything we do at PLTI. I am fortunate to work daily with motivated individuals who are passionate about growing their public awareness and acquiring the necessary tools to participate and influence positive outcomes for our city’s youth. One of the requirements of our PLTI students is that they design and execute a civic project where they employ the skills they learn in the program. Over the past several years, participants have effected impressive changes in our community, such as founding an after-school financial literacy course for middle and high school students, starting a Spanish-language teen pregnancy prevention program, and launching a peer-to-peer mentoring initiative targeting elementary girls in order to build self esteem and promote community service.
Even after they graduate, our alumni remain involved and are recognized as leaders in the community. The city recently approached PLTI to ask for volunteers to contribute to and help facilitate the “What’s Next Alexandria?” dialogue. Several former students answered the call, and are enthusiastically involved in this critical conversation. I hope others in the community will consider participating; the next dialogue is slated for March.
For seven years PLTI has been able to offer our free 20-week course on leadership and civics due to the generosity of community sponsors and individuals who support our mission. In order to continue this service, we must raise funds annually to meet our budget. I invite you to join us for a performance of Lady Swings the Blues on March 10 at 5 pm at MetroStage to support us in our goal of fostering parental involvement in shaping our children’s future. Tickets are $75 and include a delicious dinner buffet and silent auction prior to the show. Your generous support will help us to continue delivering free non-partisan civic leadership and democracy education to Alexandrians.
Fay D. Slotnick