Dorchester Youth Collaborative is located in the Fields Corner area of Dorchester, an area the Boston Police Department has labelled a violent hot spot. The community is home to approximately 26,000 residents, including 10,000 school age youth, of whom 90 percent are low income, as defined by their eligibility for the federal free and reduced price school lunch program.

The population is among the most diverse in the city, and includes African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and whites. The area also is home to a population that is younger than the citywide average, and one half of the households have children under age 18. DYC works directly with the area’s young people; 45 percent of DYC program participants are ages 11 to 15 years and 55 percent are 16 to 20 years of age. The area struggles with higher than average rates of violence and substance abuse, as compared to the rest of the city.

In 2006, 2007, and 2008 combined, homicide rates in North Dorchester was 18.2 and South Dorchester 21.1 per 100,000, compared to the Boston rate of 8.5.DYC’s primary target area is Dorchester with secondary service areas of Mattapan and Roxbury, neighborhoods where many young people struggle to find safe places to engage in healthy activities with positive adult role models.