Jamie Dorr, executive director of the Midcoast Community Alliance in Bath, said the nonprofit has entered talks to purchase the building from the city of Bath. She said the organization, which serves 70 to 90 students daily, is running out of space. She hopes purchasing the building will give them the freedom to expand the space. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

BATH — The Midcoast Community Alliance, a nonprofit offering free after-school programming to local students, is trying to purchase the building in which it operates, the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark, from the city of Bath.

According to Jamie Dorr, executive director of the Midcoast Community Alliance, the skate park and youth center saw about 400 young people ages 6 to 24 last year. She estimated anywhere from 70 to 90 students per day come to the skate park, up from 40 to 50 students per day in 2018.

“I don’t see that number going down anytime soon,” said Dorr. “Right now everyone is lumped into one area, so it has been difficult to have a quiet space for the kids who want it.”

Last year, Midcoast Community Alliance started offering a free after-school program at the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skate Park with adult mentors, homework clubs and art classes. The youth center also has free snacks, provided by the Bath Area Backpack Program, donated clothing and warm boots for children who need them. Volunteers bring in free meals twice a week.

Dorr founded the organization in 2016 when the community was grieving a young adult who took their own life.

“We lost a young person to suicide who had essentially grown up (at the skate park), and it wasn’t the first time we had lost someone to suicide,” said Dorr. “I just felt we had to do something more than what our community was doing.”


In the wake of the loss, Dorr brought together officials from local police departments, Regional School Unit 1, Mid Coast Hospital, the Bath YMCA and the Bath Recreation Department to help support Bath students. As a result, the Midcoast Community Alliance formed to bring mental health awareness, advocating for those in need and expanding access to support.

The 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, conducted by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, states that Maine high school students who felt sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year rose from 26.9% in 2017 to 32.1%. Students who in the past year seriously contemplated suicide rose from 14.7% to 16.4%, to reach nearly 8,900.

In Sagadahoc County last year, 35.7% of students reported feeling hopeless or sad (46.8% female and 24.5% male), and 19.3% said they had seriously considered attempting suicide (25.2% female, 13.2% male).

“Just meeting the needs of students, whether it’s clothing, food, a caring ear, a place to connect and find friends, helping with the things that they’re dealing with … it’s a real honor,” said Dorr. “These kids are amazing and love to see them grow.”

Dorr said the building has a basement that, if it were finished, could be used as overflow space, which is something they need. However, the organization doesn’t have the power to make changes to the building because it doesn’t own the building.

“We have other organizations that are interested in being here. … We need more classrooms and places where kids could do other activities,” said Dorr.

Dorr said the nonprofit’s board of trustees submitted a letter of interest to Peter Owen, Bath’s city manager, but a price hasn’t been established.

Bath and Midcoast Community Alliance discussed July 1 as a potential date for the nonprofit to assume all operations for the skatepark, which has been run by Bath’s Recreation Department since 2008. Dorr said having one organization managing both the skate park and the teen center will make the organization more efficient for the students.

“The city is excited about the positive influence MCA is having in the community and the outstanding successes Jamie has brought to the organization,” said Owen.

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