Thriving Youth Task Force

Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force convenes community organizations and members together to promote and empower positive youth development.

Task Force members include a diverse group of 42 leaders from organizations serving youth in Darien including:

  • Darien High School
  • Middlesex Middle School
  • Parent Teacher Organizations
  • Darien’s Teen Center
  • Darien’s Police Department
  • Board of Selectman
  • Darien Youth Commission
  • Darien Human Service
  • Local Counseling Centers
  • Local Psychiatric Hospital
  • Substance Abuse Programs
  • Youth Ministers

In 2015, The Community Fund received a $500,000 grant from the state of Connecticut (Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services) to develop a five-year prevention plan to address risky behaviors among Darien 7th-12th graders.

Thriving Youth Co-Chairs, Emily Larkin, and Alicia Sillars worked with the Task Force to develop a Community Needs Assessment, Strategic Plan and Evaluation Plan to reduce teen binge drinking.

In February 2017, TYTF released the “Our Darien” campaign, aimed at addressing teen binge drinking in Darien. You can read the press release visit the Darien website and view the Facebook page.

In 2018, TYTF received a Prevention Corps grant to address opioid use in Darien. Click here to view Darien’s Opioid Community Needs Assessment.

Darien Student Survey Results

Since 2008, Darien High School and Middlesex Middle School students have taken a comprehensive survey to measure their developmental assets (the building blocks of healthy youth development) and to assess their engagement with risky behaviors. In January 2018, Darien students completed the fourth round of this survey. In 2016, the Thriving Youth Task Force began surveying Darien parents about their attitudes and perceptions around teen substance abuse.

Our Darien Campaign

Our town campaign is designed to point a laser focus on the hard science of how detrimental teen alcohol abuse really is, and to offer proven tactics towards healthier attitudes and behaviors.

Since its release the “Our Darien” campaign has been recognized for its innovative approach to prevention at local, state and national conferences, including the National Prevention Conference, Anaheim, CA in 2017.

The Impact Vine is a community of nonprofit organizations and donors working together to raise funds for projects which help solve social problems.

Human Services Planning Council

The Community Fund sponsors the Human Services Planning Council, which brings together non-profit, governmental and educational leaders to discuss, and develop plans to address, social service needs in Darien.


The “Touch a Life” fund is in place to assist Darien residents with urgent financial needs. In cooperation with the Department of Human Services, The Community Fund of Darien will pay essential bills for Darien residents in need (up to $500 per emergency/client). Payments are made directly to the vendor on behalf of the client. For residents in need of assistance, please contact Darien’s Department of Human Services.

Pre-K to 5th Resources

The Community Fund’s Thriving Youth program primarily focuses on positive youth development for 7th-12th-grade students. However, we know that the earlier children start building resilience, self-esteem and adaptive skills, the better. Local pediatricians, social workers, and therapists shared their favorite resources to provide for parents of children in PRE-K through 5th grade regarding these important areas of development.

Role Modeling

“You can preach and you can preach, you can tell and you can tell, but we all learn primarily by example. There is something about what we’re not intending that seeps through much stronger than what we are intending.” What does research say about the power of positive role models?

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40 Developmental Assets

Research from the Search Institute identifies 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. How do we build assets in our children’s daily lives?

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Social-Emotional Skills

Social-emotional skills include self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills. Learned early, these skills can help children overcome challenges, avoid unhealthy behavior and have a long-lasting impact into adulthood. How can we help children develop these skills?

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Children’s ability to thrive despite challenges arises from the skills of resilience. How to do we equip our children to adapt well to adversity, tragedy and stress?

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Research shows mindfulness mitigates the effects of bullying, reduces attention problems, improves mental health and more. What are some mindfulness activities we can try with our children?

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Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term given to describe all types of traumatic experiences that occur to individuals under the age of 18. The Kaiser ACE Study examine the relationships between these experiences during childhood and reduce health and well-being later in life.

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For a comprehensive list of additional resources including videos, articles, websites, and podcasts, please click here.

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