Each year, The Community Fund of Darien offers opportunities for middle and high school students to get involved in local community service, philanthropy and community-building. Youth Give Back is made up of seventh and eighth graders who volunteer locally. Recent projects include cooking and serving meals at homeless shelters, visiting with seniors, painting a mural at an immigrant center, and reading to children at a learning center.

The Youth Community Fund brings together high school students to learn the value of philanthropy through volunteering and grantmaking activities with local nonprofit organizations. The students follow a similar process as the adult volunteer grant panelists, visiting local agencies and making recommendations to allocate funding where it will make the greatest impact. Activities this fall include teaching English to immigrants, assembling food packs distributed to children, helping students with homework at an afterschool program and volunteering at holiday parties.

The Youth Asset Team is a student-run high school branch of The Community Fund of Darien. Its mission is to address substance abuse and mental health by encouraging healthy choices and through community events targeting teens and adults in Darien. They also plan prevention-related events and speakers, provide the teen perspective at Thriving Youth Task Force meetings, and provide support to middle school Youth Give Back students.

The Community Fund of Darien is launching its fall appeal this month, asking residents to help our neighbors in need with a donation to TCF. There are many worthy causes to consider in our area, and TCF takes care of the research and tough decision making for donors by identifying the immediate challenges facing our community and the local nonprofit organizations that most successfully address these issues. Their staff and over 60 trained grant review panel community volunteers allocate contributions where they will have the greatest impact. Donations also support their youth philanthropy groups, many of whom appeared in videos for the appeal to share why TCF has made a difference in their lives. To learn more or to donate, please visit www.communityfunddarien.org.

The Community Fund of Darien also created the 06820/Our Darien campaign which addresses teen binge drinking. For more information, please contact The Community Fund of Darien office at 203-655-8775 or visit the website at: www.communityfunddarien.org