Jamie Dorr gives an emotional speech at the Mainsail Award ceremony on Wednesday. John Terhune / The Times Record

In 2016, as Bath reeled from the suicide of local teen Evan Millett, web designer Jamie Dorr experienced what she could only describe as a compulsion: she had to find a way to support the area’s struggling kids.

Six years of tireless work have transformed that seed of an idea into the Midcoast Youth Center, a thriving community organization that provides programming, meals and academic support to over 500 kids each year, including dozens experiencing homelessness.

On Wednesday, it was the students’ turn to show their support for Dorr. The Morse High School Community Liaison Council presented Dorr with the Mainsail Award, an annual honor that recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the youth community.

“This is very meaningful to me,” a tearful Dorr said while accepting the award in front of the Morse student body. “Not only to hear my name listed among those past nominees but because it’s an award from all of you: the people that I care so much for.”

The School Community Liaison Council, a body that includes students, staff and community members, has awarded the Mainsail since 1980, according to science teacher and group advisor  Lindsay Davis. Several previous winners attended the ceremony to celebrate Dorr, who received multiple nominations for the honor.

“She’s been on our radar for quite a while,” Davis said. “When you have over 500 area students coming through your doors every year, that’s significant in a town like this.”


Dorr, who launched the teen-focused Midcoast Community Alliance in 2016, said she noticed kids flocking to the city-owned Bath Youth Meetinghouse & Skatepark despite a dearth of support staff and programming. She began inviting partner organizations to create education and support programs at the park, while volunteers began providing kids with free meals three times a week.

Jamie Dorr poses with her husband and sons after becoming the latest winner of the Mainsail Award, which the Morse High School Community Liaison Council has given out since 1980. John Terhune / The Times Record

“If you need a quiet space to do homework, you can go there after school,” said Jeppie Phillips, one of seven 15- to 20-year-olds who now work at the center. “I feel like it definitely keeps the young kids out of trouble, kind of keeps them protected.”

According to Elliot Dorr, Jamie’s son and a youth leader at the park, the team of older teens act as mentors for younger students.

“They look up to high schoolers,” he said. “They think we’re cool. It’s nice for them to know a high schooler and learn through them.”

Dorr and her team took over complete operation of the skatepark in 2020, a move that allowed the organization to break free of the city’s budget restrictions, according Director of Parks and Recreation Steve Balboni.

“When we looked to partner and lease (Jamie) the space and operation, it just opened up the doors to grow,” Balboni said. “The ability to fill in all the gaps in youth mental health, mentoring, clothing, food has been tremendous.”


While lockdowns in the spring of 2020 shut down many community spaces, Dorr and her team found ways to keep providing services to the kids who needed them throughout the pandemic.

“As things were closing down and closing down and closing down, our greatest fear was someone’s going to have a need and it’s not going to be met,” Dorr said. “That’s why even during the stay-at-home order you would see us three days a week at the side door, six feet apart, all masked up with our gloves on just putting eyes on kids and saying, ‘How are you doing today? Do you have everything that you need?’”

A packed house at Morse High School applaud Jamie Dorr as she receives the Mainsail Award on 5/25. John Terhune / The Times Record

The troubling rates of teenage mental illness in Sagadahoc County that sparked Dorr to action in 2016 have continued to worsen, according to the Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment. In 2019, over 19% of Sagadahoc’s high school students and 24% of its middle school students reported seriously considering suicide. Both figures were several points higher than 2017 totals and were above the Maine State average.

Dorr hopes to reverse that trend by offering the support teens need, whether that’s a referral to a mental health provider, a ride to school or help buying an outfit for prom. The key is to show students that someone cares about them.

“You are all my kids, even if we have never met,” she said at the conclusion of her speech Wednesday. “I do all of this because each and every one of you matters to our community, and you matter to me.”

For the hundreds of students who have felt that message over the last six years, it was gratifying to get a chance to reciprocate.

“She’s been working like crazy for years, and a lot of it went unnoticed,” said Dorr’s son Noah. “Finally, she’s getting what she deserves.”

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