Here at the Pioneer Park Coalition, we’re introducing our amazing board members. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on David Durocher. He oversees the operations at The Other Side Academy, a facility that helps those who have suffered from long-term drug addiction, have a lengthy criminal history or have experienced chronic homelessness. The Other Side Academy is a two-year residential Life Skills Academy, one that works with both men and women.
David has been with The Other Side Academy for more than 3 years. Located at 667 East and 100 South, the facility is a place where those who have lost themselves can find hope. According to David, the best part of his job is giving hope and inspiration to people who have been as broken as he once was. He believes that anyone can reinvent themselves as long as they’re willing to put in the work to do so. Sometimes, people who have struggled just need another person to believe in them. Often, David is that person.
David’s company rehabilitates habitual offenders, those who have abused drugs or committed crimes for years. Along with rehabilitating people, The Other Side Academy does it with no cost to the community since the organization is fully funded through its training school businesses. The academy also saves the community millions of dollars annually because instead of incarcerating those who are habitual offenders, the academy is turning them into citizens who contribute positively to society. According to David, there are about 100 students at his school.
The Other Side Academy is located close to the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area. In fact, they are almost neighbors. In addition to being in proximity to each other, the two organizations are connected by the fact that The Other Side Academy’s students are usually the people who are causing problems for the Pioneer Park Coalition. They are basically partners because their respective missions align.
One struggle that David is currently facing is that The Other Side Academy isn’t considered a “qualified service provider” by those who are directing people who need the kind of rehab that the facility offers. David pointed out that his company is highly effective at resolving the underlying issues, the ones that typically cause people to turn to drugs, become homeless or engage in criminal activity. When the cause of a problem is resolved, people are less likely to fall back into a destructive lifestyle pattern.
David does feel that the Pioneer Park and Rio Grande communities are on the right path when it comes to dealing with the area’s problems. He’d like for people to have the choice to apply for his program instead of being sent to jail and hopes that more will be given the option.
When asked why he does what he does, he said, “I do what I do because I once was part of the population that I now serve. It is a labor of love for me and a way for me to balance the scales for the wreckage of my past.” David is a valuable member of our board, and we’re glad that he’s a part of our organization.