In a newly created role, Heather Gordon will join the Community Fund of Darien as its youth program manager. Gordon will oversee and coordinate TCF’s four student youth groups.

Gordon is an extremely involved volunteer, having previously partnered with organizations such as Young Life, Trinity Church, Save the Children, and the YMCA. A Pepperdine University graduate and Norwalk native, Gordon is also working with Noroton Presbyterian Church as its youth ministry associate and is currently pursuing a master’s in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Gordon said she is excited to start this new chapter this fall with the Community Fund of Darien.

“In high school, my youth group was the first place I truly felt loved and accepted, which was in many ways due to my wonderful mentors. From then on, I knew my dream was to help change the world through meaningful relationships and be this role model for others,” Gordon said.

Janet King, The Community Fund’s Executive Director added, “Heather’s experience and genuine enthusiasm are a compliment to The Community Fund of Darien’s mission to inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen our community.”

The Community Fund of Darien student groups include:

Youth Community Fund

The Youth Community Fund (YCF), open to 10 to 12th graders, introduces students to philanthropy and the role of nonprofits in our community. The group volunteers and evaluates local organizations and allocates money it raises to those that it deems most in need. According to Youth Community Fund member Ally Noonan, “It’s wonderful to learn how we can help our neighbors both through volunteerism and through a formal grant allocation process. The group has awarded grants over $13,500 this year.

Youth Asset Team

Ten to twelfth graders meet biweekly to discuss healthy choices, mental health, and continue to educate other teenagers and adults about substance and alcohol abuse in the community. Not only does the Youth Asset Team strive to help and educate the community, it also develops students’ leadership skills throughout their time in this program.

Freshman Community Group

This group is just for ninth grade students to help support them as they navigate the transition to high school, and serves as an introduction to the Youth Community Fund and the Youth Asset Team. The group is centered around engaging meetings with Andrew Tepper, the YAT advisor and a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) as well as community service projects.

Youth Give Back

Through this program, students are able to learn about problems within the community and create solutions or ways to help. The program is also designed so that students receive hands-on experiences through visits to local shelters and organizations.

The Community Fund of Darien (TCF) inspires people and mobilizes resources to strengthen our community. TCF initiates solutions, builds collaborations, and implements and supports programs to strengthen youth, adults and families for lasting and positive impact in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford. Since its founding in 1951, TCF has distributed over $20 million to local nonprofit organizations and community initiatives. More information can be found at www.communityfunddarien.org.

Isabelle Garrett and Alyse Wright-Webb are Darien High School seniors who interned at the Community Fund of Darien.