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.
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.
“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?
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?
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.