Home Supporting structure Dutchtown Secures Funding for Youth and Entrepreneur Programs

Dutchtown Secures Funding for Youth and Entrepreneur Programs

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Programs to help youth and business development in a St. Louis neighborhood are getting a boost from the state and a foundation.

The Dutchtown Opportunity Coalition for Youth receives over $100,000 from the state. The initiative will help young people connect with educational and social opportunities. The Word Incarnate Foundation is providing $75,000 to the youth program, said Bridget Flood, the foundation’s executive director.

“St. Louis youth are the future,” Flood said. “And if we want them to be caring, happy, successful adults who reach their full potential, I want to make sure they get a great education. And I want to make sure they also have enough to eat and their families get paid rent and utilities so they don’t have to move. It’s really a holistic approach. So it’s not just about getting the kids to school. It’s about the kids to have safe environments after school.

The state is also providing $50,000 to the building that houses the Dutchtown Neighborhood Innovation Center, which helps entrepreneurs in the southeast neighborhood of St. Louis.

State Representative Steve Butz said the money will help make the building more accessible to people with disabilities. He pointed out that the structure, which was once a bank, has no bathroom on the first floor and a toilet is only accessible by stairs.

The St. Louis Democrat said if the space is going to be an effective facility for people with a micro-business idea, it needs to have easy access to a restroom.

“If you were someone who had physical issues, I don’t know how useful it is to have an office space without a bathroom,” Butz said.

He added that money for the youth program could have a big impact. Butz said the neighborhood has one of the largest concentrations of young people in the entire St. Louis area.

“If we pick up and help teenagers, not just to complete their education, but perhaps to learn entrepreneurial skills? I mean, these are things that change the course of your life,” Butz said. “It is important to intervene in the difficult years of adolescence, but it is more important that there are lasting benefits for them as individuals and as human beings.”

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