What is the Dutchtown Opportunity Coalition for Youth?
DOCY serves youth between 10 and 17 years old in the Gravois Park, Dutchtown, and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods. We work to reduce the likelihood of youth being both victims and perpetrators of crime by connecting them to opportunities that pave a way toward graduation and/or employment.
The Dutchtown Opportunity Coalition for Youth aims to curb the effects of poverty and violence in these neighborhoods that have skyrocketed over the last decade. Through collaboration with over a dozen community agencies, we listen to the youth in the community and connect them with programs to meet their needs and goals.
Meet Our Partners
DOCY Youth Spotlight
Meet MaKayla, one of Dutchtown’s youngest entrepreneurs. MaKayla has shared her passion for mental health and fashion by starting a clothing line that brings awareness to mental health issues facing young people. Her line features sayings such as “Feeling Is Healing,” “Ups and Downs,” and a famous Malcolm X quote: “You can’t separate peace from Freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom”.
MaKayla started her journey in 5th grade. “I knew that for my future I did not want to work under someone for the rest of my life and that I wanted my future family to not have to want or need for anything, so being my own boss was the first thing that came to mind,” MaKayla tells us. She chose to make her brand around mental health because it isn’t discussed as much as it needs to be. She feels that youth are not taught to share and manage their mental health concerns. MaKayla shares another motivation for choosing to bring awareness to mental needs “is because of my grandma and her want for breaking generational curses.” MaKayla hopes to educate all ages on the importance of mental health and that it's never too late to become in tune with your emotions.
For her future, she wants to see her business grow into new ventures, but ultimately, she wants to “educate people while making them look fashionable, and this brand does just that”. You can support MaKayla and her dreams by visiting her website and supporting her brand. Check out FeelingIsHealing at https://www.bonfire.com/store/feelingishealing/
Family Game Night
In January, DOCY was joined by families from all over the Greater Dutchtown area at Thomas Dunn Learning Center to share snacks, smiles, and memories at Family Game Night!
Youth Voice for Choice Town Hall
In February, DOCY held a youth town hall meeting at Gene Slay's Girls and Boys Club to gather input from youth in the community on what programs, resources, or events they want to see in the community. We also invited five community agencies to present their resources to youth and their families. Thank you to Thomas Dunn Learning Center, Gene Slay's Girls and Boys Club, Employment Connection, Franciscan Connection, WIOA, and Cure Violence Dutchtown for attending!
Hello from the Program Manager
Hey Neighbors! My name is Caitlyn Dorion, and I have the pleasure of leading the Dutchtown Opportunity Coalition for Youth efforts in the Greater Dutchtown community. One of the best aspects of our program is the way we engage with the entire household to understand and overcome barriers. Growing up in Dutchtown myself, I know of the struggles our children face, but also the passion that neighbors, businesses, and organizations carry to make a difference. I look forward to the work that needs to be done and collaborating with partners to make an impact.
The DOCY team is growing! We are looking to fill two positions to assist in serving the greater Dutchtown youth: an Outreach Specialist and a Youth Counselor. To find out more and apply for these positions or other open positions at Employment Connection, visit https://www.employmentstl.org/come-work-with-us
Want to stay up to date on DOCY updates and events? Sign up for our mailing list and follow Employment Connection on social media!
To contact the Dutchtown Opportunity Coalition for Youth, email Caitlyn Dorion at email@example.com or call 314-230-0902.