The Dorchester Youth Collaborative was founded in 1981 in response to the need for programs to serve the most at risk youth of Boston – teens who live in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, unemployment, and social instability, and who are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice and social service systems without interventions and support. DYC engages high-risk young people in relationships and projects that promote their psycho-social development, as well as the health and safety of the community. DYC introduces teens to education, enrichment, health, sports, performance arts, and employment opportunities. Through their participation, DYC teens achieve socially valued roles at home, with their friends, and in the community. DYC has realized striking results.
A recent evaluation of youth indicated that more than 60 percent believed their participation in the Teen Drop-In Center definitely helped them to feel better about their future (66 percent), feel that they were better able to handle whatever comes their way (65 percent), feel better about themselves (64 percent), and helped them realize they could do things they did not think they could do before (64 percent). The majority of participants reported that involvement in the program helped them to stay away from tobacco (72 percent), alcohol (75 percent), and drugs (83 percent). More than 90 percent of participants responded positively when asked if program participation had helped them to be better at getting along better with other people, setting goals, making friends, planning ahead, and solving problems.
DYC seeks to continue to support the education, achievement, and well being of young people and improve their future prospects for employment and civic participation.