Photos courtesy of All-Stars Project of Dallas
All Stars Project of Dallas kicks off DSY 2020
by Allison Hatfield | February 10, 2020
“The first time I heard about DSY, I was walking by a classroom and I heard them talking about business. I was intrigued,” says 18-year-old Dominique Ricketts, an All Stars Project of Dallas alumna who plans to own her own law firm someday.
Ricketts was one of several dozen students at the kickoff for All Stars Project of Dallas’ 2020 Development School for Youth (DSY), which was held at Baker McKenzie’s downtown office last week. Founded in New York, the organization is in its sixth year in Dallas, with 40 inner-city students from West Dallas and South Dallas signed up to participate in 14 weeks of workshops created to give them personal development opportunities and possible summer internships.
Antoine Joyce moved to Dallas to launch All Stars Project of Dallas at the request of Hunt Consolidated Energy Chairman and CEO Hunter Hunt. Joyce was involved with All Stars Project talent shows in high school in Brooklyn and is now vice president and city leader of the Dallas affiliate. Hunt is vice chair of the board of directors for All Stars Project, and he was impressed with Joyce’s work for the organization in New York.
The former international touring production manager for Grandmaster Flash was employed with All Stars Project from 1997 to 2005 before leaving that role to go on the road with the hip-hop artist. “I was fundraising for All Stars in New York when Hunter asked did I want to come to Dallas,” Joyce recalls. “My life was changing, and I don’t know what it was — I am a Brooklyn boy — but I said to him, ‘If [All Stars goes] to Dallas, I want to go to Dallas.’”
The DSY 2020 class sat rapt in their chairs while Joyce stood in front and told them, “Dreams are what you want. Goals are dreams with a date.” He then stepped aside to give Chazidi Taylor a chance to speak to her peers. The 17-year-old student shared her story: Her family was evicted from their home and spent some time homeless before she and her four siblings moved in with her grandmother. She’s excited to be part of DSY 2020.
A junior at South Oak Cliff High School, where many of the students in DSY attend classes, Taylor hopes to go to college and become a speech pathologist. All Stars Project is a way for her to learn about business principals, but the program also teaches the soft skills that help young people get into a university, become successful adults, have coveted careers, and navigate a world very different from the one in which they grew up. The All Stars Project Development School for Youth is a pathway out of poverty.
Joyce never shies away from using the word poverty, preferring to face it straight on. He explains, “When I think about education, I still think we’re figuring it out. You can’t develop if you don’t have learning, and you can’t learn if you’re not developed. How can you tell a kid to dream toward something he’s never seen?”
Among the businesses that participate in the program are EY, Bank of Texas, CBRE, and PWC. Wilson Neely is a manager at EY and a DSY program associate. He helps arrange workshops and serves as a liaison between participating students and the professional community. “From the EY perspective and from an internship standpoint, it’s nice to get some different folks from different backgrounds and with different opinions,” Neely says. Plus, EY likes to focus on community initiatives, and this allows the multinational firm to have a local connection, he says.
This summer, DSY will facilitate 425 internships nationally at firms like EY. Joyce wants 60 of those to be right here in Dallas. The organization is still looking for corporate partners to round out the roster. To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-484-2112.
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