Second Chance

Program Benefits

Students learn how substance use affects their physical and mental health, as well as skills to deal with peer pressure. Students also develop an action plan to help them make healthy choices. Guest speakers each day supplement the curriculum. More importantly, students who have completed Second Chance tell us that they have changed both their attitudes and their behaviors around drugs and alcohol.

Parents/guardians learn how to communicate more effectively with their teen and set clear limits and expectations for their behavior. ​

For students who are in the Program because of a School or Court referral, successful completion means they will not be prosecuted in juvenile court or suspended or expelled from school because of that incident. There will be no public record of their offense.​

​There can also be legal cost savings for the families and the community at large.

Program Completion

  • Student must attend 3-day program and booster session.
  • Parent/guardian must attend parent program.
  • Parent/guardian and student must attend the booster session.
  • Referral sources (school, court, parent) will be notified upon successful/unsuccessful completion of program for appropriate action.

Absence from School

  • Participation in the program is an excused absence.
  • Students and parents/guardians are responsible for notifying schools and making up school work.

Who can be referred to Second Chance?

Arlington middle and high school students who attend Arlington County Public Schools or whose parents reside in Arlington are eligible to participate in Second Chance. Students can also be referred to the program by schools, police, the courts and parents/guardians. They also can refer themselves.

Do you know a student who needs Second Chance? If so, please contact:

  • Your school Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Your school counselor

Program Information

Student Sessions are held monthly. High school sessions meet for 3 days, 8:30am-3pm each day; middle school sessions meet for two days, 8am – 2:30pm each day.

Sessions are held Monday – Wednesday, except where noted.

​Day 1 Topics:

  • Impact of substance use on physical and physiological health, family and community.
  • Arlington Public School Policy towards substance use.​​​

Day 2 Topics:

  • Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI).
  • Damaging effects of drug abuse.
  • Awareness of the impact of alcohol and drugs in one’s life and the possible consequences of further involvement.

Day 3 Topics:

  • Consequences of alcohol/drug use, emphasis on refusal skills and identifying other activities to replace time spent using alcohol/drugs.
  • Treatment options and self-help groups.

*Note: The middle school session will cover this information in a condensed format.

Parents and/or Guardians must attend the Parent Session which is held in the evening on the last day of the student session.  

Parent Sessions are held from 6:30-9:30pm on Wednesday or Friday evening, depending on the student schedule. Parents/guardians must attend the evening parent/guardian session. Exceptions will be made only on a case-by-case basis with the request received no later than Day 1 of the student session. Requests should be made to Alvaro Alarcon at 202-644-6812.

Parent/Guardian Spanish Session: 
Wednesday/Friday 4:30-6:00pm.
Parent/Guardian Session:
Wednesday/Friday 6:30pm-9:30pm.
Parent/Guardian Session Topics:
  • Reviewing the effects of alcohol on adolescent brain development.
  • Recognizing signs and symptoms of substance use.
  • Communicating effectively and setting clear limits and expectations.

Students and their Parent/Guardian MUST attend the booster session together. It is scheduled on a Monday evening (unless otherwise noted in the Program Schedule) approximately 6 weeks after completion of the Student and Parent/Guardian Sessions. A light dinner will be provided.

Booster Session for Students and Parents/Guardians:

Date: Mondays

Time:  6:30pm-9:30pm

Booster Session topics for Students and Parents/Guardians:

  • Reviewing the action plan.
  • Identifying and evaluating changes.
  • Discussing barriers to positive change and identifying strategies for overcoming them.