The Community Fund of Darien

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Community Fund awarded Thriving Youth grant

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, left, Emily Larkin, Thriving Youth Program Coordinator, Carrie Bernier, executive director The Community Fund of Darien.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, left, Emily Larkin, Thriving Youth Program Coordinator, Carrie Bernier, executive director The Community Fund of Darien.

The Community Fund of Darien has received a competitive annual grant of $100,000 for the next five years to implement a strategic prevention plan to reduce substance abuse and improve mental health among Darien’s youth and their parents.

With this grant, the State of Connecticut recognized The Community Fund’s prevention and asset-development work with the Thriving Youth Task Force and the student asset survey.

The Community Fund of Darien will dedicate resources to engage the whole community in a long-term plan to promote positive youth development and mental health.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of this important prevention grant. It allows us to invest on a deeper level with our Thriving Youth Task Force and to integrate positive assets into our town’s culture and in our interactions with youth,” said executive director Carrie Bernier.

This grant will strengthen The Community Fund’s collaborative efforts to work with the 42 members of the Thriving Youth Task Force.

“The key to Darien’s success will be collaboration among the many groups that provide services to youth. This effort will be youth-driven and involve youth leaders from across a broad cross-section of town,” said Bernier.

“Our goal is to achieve measureable outcomes in promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse among teens and their parents” said Bernier.

Darien was awarded the grant by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to support The Community Fund’s work to promote the “40 Developmental Assets,” which are evidence-based building blocks for healthy youth.

The Community Fund administered a survey of Darien Public School 7th-12th graders to quantify the “assets” students possess in 2008, 2011 and in November, 2014.

The results were shared in a public forum at the Darien Library in April,2015. The survey revealed some alarming trends, namely that substance abuse was on the rise among teens and resilience/ resistance skills seemed to be declining instead of improving.

With this grant, The Community Fund of Darien will implement a strategic prevention framework using a public health model.

For over 65 years, The Community Fund of Darien’s mission has been to help Darien and our neighbors in Stamford and Norwalk by investing in programs aimed at improving the quality of life for all.

In addition to its community initiatives, The Community Fund of Darien awards grants to local nonprofits helping to address a broad spectrum of vital human services including mental health, substance abuse, at-risk youth, homelessness, hunger, child abuse, special needs and more.

For more information, please contact The Community Fund of Darien office at 203-655-8775 or visit the website at: www.communityfunddarien. org