Social Innovator Directory DocWayne LogoDoc Wayne Youth Services, Inc.


Doc Wayne’s mission is to fuse sport and therapy to heal and strengthen at-risk youth. Our team is reimaging traditional group therapy through the lens of sport and providing therapeutic opportunities for youth with social, emotional or behavioral challenges. Many of our clients are also survivors or witnesses of abuse and community violence. Unfortunately, research suggests many young people fail to progress in traditional talk therapy, as this setting can often be intimidating or triggering for those with social, emotional or behavioral challenges. By incorporating the fun aspect of sport, we are breaking down barriers surrounding mental and behavioral health services. Youth who may not progress in traditional talk therapy thrive in our program because it is fun and engaging. Doc Wayne provides an inclusive and safe environment for students who may not receive appropriate supports elsewhere due to barriers including stigma, transportation or cost. Sport is used as a mechanism to engage students and improve their social, emotional learning skills as well as their behavioral and emotional health. Doc Wayne works with over 350 children each week, ages 5-18, from public schools, alternative schools and community-based organizations in Boston, Framingham and Newton. Over time, as individuals and in teams, our students learn to heal together, grow together, and win together.


Doc Wayne’s Chalk Talk® group therapy program utilizes an exclusive sport-based curriculum which fuses sports like soccer, basketball and football with two therapeutic frameworks: Attachment, Regulation and Competency Framework (ARC) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Our mental health clinicians, known as coaches, enable youth to strengthen their positive social, emotional and behavioral skills through the use of team sports. Youth are referred by school personnel, counselors, parents and guardians who believe Doc Wayne’s unique approach will help students flourish inside and outside of the classroom. Doc Wayne prides itself on the unparalleled, award-winning approach to therapy our Chalk Talk® program provides.


Doc Wayne continues to gain recognition for its positive impact on youth. In 2014, Doc Wayne was chosen by Root Cause (Social Innovation Forum) as a Social Innovator in the Mental Health category. This award highlights the positive health impacts of Doc Wayne’s novel approach. In addition to this recognition, the Massachusetts Providers’ Council named Doc Wayne, 2014’s Innovator of the Year. This award is “given to an organization that has launched or grown an exemplary innovative program.”

Along with being recognized for its innovative approach, Doc Wayne was also named winner of a 2015 national Sports Award in the “Influential Leader” category by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation declared Doc Wayne’s “engaging, high quality, evidence-based mental health interventions are transforming lives.” Additionally, in 2016, Doc Wayne won Beyond Sport’s global Sports for Health Award – marking Doc Wayne’s first international recognition. In the summer of 2018, CEO David Cohen was selected to represent the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer’s Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo. This recognition highlights David’s commitment to using sports, such as soccer, to positively impact the community. Along with these accolades, our approach is validated through the direct observations of students and testimonies from coaches, teachers, or parents.

Below are some quotes from parents whose children are a part of our program:

“She absolutely loves it. Doc Wayne is the highlight of her week.”

“He loves Doc Wayne. His confidence with reading is even way up.”

“Because of Doc Wayne, I have seen an entire improvement in every part of his life.”

For more information, please visit our website, follow our social media pages, or contact us!
Phone: 617-828-4992
Facebook: DocWayneDtG
LinkedIn: Doc Wayne
Twitter: DocWayneDtG
Instagram: DocWayneDtG


Practice Area

People with intellectual disabilities
People with physical disabilities
Victims of domestic violence
People with addictions

Measure of Success

Improves client services

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