Letter

Letter: How Darien Teens Are Helping to Get Information Out About Binge Drinking

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To the editor:

We, the presidents of the Youth Asset Team, are writing to address and provide a teen perspective on the Thriving Youth Task Force’s “Our Darien” campaign. For those who are unaware with the Youth Asset Team, we are the student branch of the Thriving Youth Task Force, an initiative of The Community Fund of Darien which represents over fifty local organizations that strive to promote positive assets in young people in order to reduce risky behaviors. We are currently collaborating on this nationally recognized “Our Darien” social marketing campaign, which educates parents and students about the detrimental effects of binge drinking. Some of our ongoing activities include: panel participation in presentations for parents of younger students, planning, promoting and executing prevention-related speakers and events, participating in community service, and mentoring to the newly created middle school branch of the Youth Asset Team. All of us originally joined the Youth Asset Team because we wanted to make a difference locally by providing a teen perspective on issues affecting our age group.

Letter

Letter: New Initiatives in Darien Give People, Families Support to Counter Substance Abuse

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To the editor:

As someone who grew up in Darien (DHS ’93) and works for a national addiction nonprofit, I commend The Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force and their “Our Darien” campaign. I think it is important that parents start the conversations with their children about drugs and alcohol much sooner than one might think (middle school is just too late) and be armed with information on how addiction is a brain disease. There are three factors to one becoming addicted; genetic, environmental and developmental. Addiction can develop at any age, but research shows that the earlier in a life a person tries drugs and/or alcohol, the more likely that person is to develop addiction. Our brains are not finished developing until our mid-20s, thus introducing drugs to the brain before this time of growth and change can cause serious, long-lasting damage.

06820 postcard game pong 03-08-17

Thriving Youth Task Force Announces ‘Our Darien 2.0’ Campaign

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The Town of Darien is above par on many indicators of success. When it comes to parenting, we excel at providing our children with every opportunity to nurture their potential. We feed them organic whole foods, we limit sugar intake, sign them up for tutoring, encourage stimulating extra-curricular activities, and make sure they get enough sleep at night. ____________

— This is an announcement from Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force, an Initiative of The Community Fund of Darien. Darienite has added images from the OurDarien.com website.

Family Day Dinner 10-03-17

Letter: Darien Family Day Dinner Attended by 150

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To the editor:

On Friday, Sept. 22, approximately 150 people enjoyed the hospitality of the YMCA at the 7th Annual Family Day Dinner. Sponsored by the Darien YMCA, the Thriving Youth Task Force (a subcommittee of The Community Fund of Darien) and the Darien Youth Commission, Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children was launched in 2001 by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Family Day is a national movement that reminds parents that the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. Family meals are the perfect time to talk to your kids and to listen to what’s on their mind.

Family Day Dinner

Register Now for the Sept 22 Darien Family Day Dinner

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Join the Darien community for “Family Day Dinner” on Friday, Sept, 22, at the Darien Y. “Family Day Dinner” will include dinner, swimming, open gym time, arts & crafts, games, and an evening of fun for the whole family. This free, fun-filled family event promotes the concept that families who regularly dine together minimize future risk factors. Family Day Dinner was originally launched in 2001 by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. “Research shows that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors.  In addition, these kids are more likely to have more family support, positive peer influences and positive adult role models.

Community Fund of Darien Logo Facebook 07-19-17

Darien Teens Take First ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid Training’ Course, To Be Offered Again

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Many of us learn CPR for medical emergencies — but what about mental health emergencies? On June 27 and 28, the Community Fund of Darien brought a “Youth Mental Health First Aid” training to local teenagers to equip them with skills to recognize and respond to the unique risks posed by a teenager’s mental health crisis. Darien and Norwalk teens, parents and youth workers gathered in Noroton Presbyterian Church for the eight-hour training to learn about mental illness and how to help a teen in need. __________

This article, an announcement from the Community Fund of Darien, is by Sarah-Jane Clarke, a volunteer with the organization. __________

By the end of the course, participants said they felt prepared to deal with friends, co-workers, or students who may be dealing with mental health issues.

Parent Survey Community Fund of Darien 05-14-17

See What Darien Parents Said About Teen Substance Abuse: Survey Results Presented Monday Night

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Nearly 800 Darien parents of students in Grades 6 to 12 completed a survey last year about teen substance abuse, an on Monday night, the results will be presented. You’re invited to find out about the results at 7 p.m., Monday, May 15 in the Community Room of Darien Library. Since 2008, Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force has been surveying Darien 7 through 12th graders to assess their developmental assets and participation in risky behaviors. In 2016, for the first time, the task force surveyed Darien parents, as well. The parent survey, sent out through the Superintendent of Schools Office, assessed their perspectives, knowledge and attitudes regarding risky behaviors, specifically teen alcohol and drug use.

Jamie Roach-Murray New Canaan event 03-16-17

Commentary: Think Europe Has the Right Approach to Teen Drinking? Here’s Evidence They Don’t

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The Thriving Youth Task Force and The Community Fund of Darien must be commended for providing reliable information about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. ____________

Editor’s note: This commentary by Dr. Jamie Roach-Murray of Darien, who has been a practicing pediatrician in Darien and now concentrates on public health and health policy. It was submitted as a letter to the editor by the Thriving Youth Task Force, of which she is a member. Darienite.com is treating this as an op-ed, adding subheadings, weblinks and images. At the bottom, we’ve added a video of a recent panel discussion in New Canaan where Roach-Murray spoke.

Mark Cappelli Bryan Wallman 02-21-17

What Happens When Darien Police Visit an Under-Age Party with Alcohol

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When police are alerted to a teenage drinking party in Darien, most of what they do revolves around the safety of the under-age drinkers there and the safety of other people who might be on the road when intoxicated drivers from the party go home. That was one of the themes brought up by two Darien police officers involved with youths in town when the officers spoke recently at a meeting for parents at Darien High School. Detective Mark Cappelli, who works on cases involving youths in town, and Officer Bryan Wallman, who had just been named (two days before the meeting) as school resource officer for Darien High School, replacing James Palmieri, who had just been named a detective. Cappelli, who grew up in town and lives here with his wife and daughter, has been on the Darien police force for 21 years, and on the Youth Bureau for the past nine years. Wallman has been a police officer in town for the past decade and previously was school resource officer at Hindley School.

7 to 12 Grade Past 30 Day Use 02-19-17

Darien Health Dept: How Many of These Risks from Under-Age Drinking Do You Know?

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A statement on supporting the Thriving Youth Task Force’s campaign against under-age drinking in town, from Darien Health Director David Knauf:

The Darien Health Department has recently concluded a series of presentations entitled “Darien, How Healthy Are We?” which was an overview of the health status of our community and comparing recent data with the findings of the last health assessment conducted in 2007. [Editor’s note: You can see videos of the three meetings here, here and here.]

While chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease still claim the most lives in Darien, police activity and EMS response calls have noted a definite increase in drug and alcohol abuse in recent years. Additionally, the Thriving Youth Task Force has identified “binge drinking”, as having become quite prevalent in Darien. A few facts worth noting:

* Alcohol and tobacco are usually the first drugs that young people experiment with or use. While the use of alcohol and tobacco does not cause all young people to develop problems associated with drug use, there is evidence that using these substances creates situations/environments that are supportive of future/further drug use.

OurDarien.com website image 02-09-17

Letter from Selectman Susan Marks: Darien Parents & Grandparents, Check Out the OurDarien.com Website

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To the editor:

Have you heard about the new campaign in Darien? It has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with something much more important, our Youth in town! Darien is no different than many other towns and cities with the problem of underage and binge drinking. Here is one of the biggest differences that set us apart. We are tackling the problem head on and need your help!

Teen Drinking Darien Thriving Youth Initiative 02-07-17

Letter from Y Director Pat Morrissey: Parents in Darien Have a Challenge with Teen Drinking

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“This is our problem, our responsibility. If we truly understand the problem, if we give our hearts and minds to it, then together, we can find a solution.” ___________

To the editor:

In November 2014, the Community Fund administered a survey of Darien Public School’s 7th-12th graders to quantify and identify a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. To date, more than 600,000 young people between the ages of 8 and 18 have taken the same “Resources and Asset Survey, designed by the Search Institute, making it one of the most used instruments in the world for measuring the internal strengths and external supports that influence a youth’s success in school, and in life. The survey had also been administered in Darien twice before, in 2008 and in 2011.

Panelists: High Rate of Teen Drinking in Darien Comes with High Stress, Lax Attitudes

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With only two days on the assignment as school resource officer at Darien High School, Officer Bryan Wallman said at a panel discussion Tuesday night that one of his first impressions is how competitive students are with their academics, and that it may be making them more stressful. DHS Principal Ellen Dunn, who’s been working at the school for years and was also on the panel, said she’s been noticing how students seem more open and unembarrassed to talk with adults about drinking at parties and about marijuana. Don’t renovate that basement if you’ve got teenagers who might want to host a party, she advised parents. Those were some of the observations from the panel at the “Truth and Consequences” public discussion about teenage drinking and binge drinking. Other panelists talked about what parents can do between the time they call an ambulance for an unconscious person found at or after a party, how they should think about legal risks if some teen gets injured at a party at their home where drinking is taking place, or how to approach communicating with a teenager.