The Town of Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force (TYTF) was formed in 2008 with the following mission:
“Involving all sectors of our community, we are a catalyst in Darien for developmental asset building through meaningful experiences, opportunities, skills and relationships that benefit all our children.”
Coalition 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 Services
Local Counseling Centers
Local Psychiatric Hospital
Substance Abuse Programs
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 in Darien 7th-12th graders.
This past year 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 for this grant.
Darien Youth Community Needs Assessment
TYTF Steering Committee researched all available data related to trends in risky behavior among youth in Darien. The steering committee also conducted individual interviews with professionals working closely with Darien teens. The Darien Youth Community Needs Assessment explores each of SAMHSA’s eight risk factors related to youth substance use. You can view the complete Needs Assessment here.
Priority Substance Identification
A close examination of Darien’s data revealed that underage drinking is the most prevalent risky behavior impacting Darien 7th-12th graders.
Risk Factor Prioritization
After presenting the Needs Assessment to the Thriving Youth Task Force, the group voted on Darien’s priority risk factors. Family Norms and Peer Norms that encourage and accept underage drinking emerged as Darien’s priority risk factors.
Darien’s Strategic Plan
TYTF Steering Committee worked closely with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to develop an evidence-based strategic plan to address our two priority risk factors throughout the Darien community. The strategic plan also includes a comprehensive evaluation plan to measure short- and long-term outcomes. You can view Darien’s Strategic Prevention Plan here.
Sept. 2016-June 2020
After a first year focused on assessment and strategic planning, the Thriving Youth Task Force began implementing Darien’s Strategic Plan in September 2016. The plan includes a social marketing campaign for targeting Family Norms and Peer Norms, an Active Parenting Class Series and student-led prevention initiatives.