Community Fund of Darien’s Emily Larkin Arocha Named One of Fairfield County’s ’40 Under 40′

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Emily Larkin Arocha, who has led the Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Initiative, has been picked as one of Fairfield County Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” promising people in the county.

Susan Cator Emily Larkin Arocha

Contributed photo

From left, Susan Cator, president of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, and Emily Larkin, director of the Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Program

Since October 2015, Arocha, who uses her maiden name professionally, has led the Thriving Youth Initiative with a mission of promoting healthy youth development by improving thriving indicators and reducing risk factors such as substance abuse and poor mental health.

Her greatest accomplishment, according to an announcement from the Community Fund, has been her leadership of the innovative public health social media campaign, titled “06820,” to reduce teenage binge drinking in Darien.

DHS Youth Asset Team

Photo from the Community Fund of Darien website

Darien High School’s Youth Asset Team, part of the Community Fund’s Thriving Youth Initative, with “06820” publicity materials

Susan Cator, president of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, nominated Larkin, who uses her maiden name professionally.

“The Darien Chamber of Commerce nominated Emily for the 40 Under 40 award due to her contributions to the Darien community, especially the teens of our town,” Cator said. “Her ability to work with numerous Darien organizations to gain support has made a difference to the acceptance and awareness of the 06820 campaign.”

Emily Larkin Community Fund of Darien 09-29-17

Larkin in 2017 at the national conference in Anaheim, CA, where she spoke to professionals at the National Prevention Network Conference about the Thriving Youth Initiative’s campaign. Larkin presented a break-out session titled “Provocative Social Marketing to Reduce Underage Drinking in Affluent Communities.” A total of 150 prevention professionals attended the session.

As an example of her leadership and results, the Community Fund announcement said, Larkin has been asked to assist local task forces in Fairfield, New Canaan and Greenwich to share the Darien model to help them develop their own youth coalitions.

She was also invited to the National Prevention Conference in Anaheim, CA this past fall to present Darien’s strategic plan and social marketing campaign to a national audience.

Last month Larkin was asked to present her work at the State Capitol to representatives from the Federal government.

Slide presentation from Community Fund

An example of he provocative marketing in the Thriving Youth Initiative’s campaign

The Community Fund said in the announcement:

She has accomplished so much in her three years at The Community Fund and we could not be more proud.  P.S.  She hasn’t even turned 30 yet!

Larkin will be honored at the Fairfield County Business Journal’s annual dinner on Tuesday, June 19 at the Italian Center in Stamford.

Here’s the description of Larkin on the Community Fund of Darien’s website:

  • Emily grew up in Wilton, and so she is familiar with the challenges facing adolescents in Fairfield County. She holds a B.S. in counseling and human services and B.A. in theology from the University of Scranton.
  • Prior to her role at The Community Fund, she worked for five years for The Fold Family Ministries, a nonprofit organization providing residential care, counseling and education for teens and families in crisis.
  • In her role as Thriving Youth Program Coordinator, Emily works with our community partners to implement a five-year strategic plan aimed at reducing underage drinking and improving mental health for Darien’s 12-17 year olds and their parents. Emily and her husband live in Stamford.

Fairfield County Business Journal annually names 40 promising people under 40 years old. The nomination application this year said the criteria included being between the ages of 25 and 40 by June 19, working in the county and not having won previously.

According to the online application form, a candidate should fit “the description of a young, dynamic industry leader who is part of Fairfield County’s business growth.” The word “industry” has included nonprofits.

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