Depot celebrates teen heroes during pandemic

In April, Sophie Pullen was one of the members of The Depot's Girls Night Out club who helped to create and place thank-you posters around town for Darien's medical staff and first responders.

In April, Sophie Pullen was one of the members of The Depot’s Girls Night Out club who helped to create and place thank-you posters around town for Darien’s medical staff and first responders.

Depot /

As COVID-19 decimated sports, school, in-person gatherings, philanthropic outreach, and right-of-passage celebrations such as prom and graduation, Darien teens demonstrated the skills learned from their involvement at The Depot Youth Center to get creative and make a difference.

Because of challenges around normal fundraising activities due to COVID, The Depot announced it is seeking community financial support, now more than ever to keep its doors open and continue to serve the youth of Darien.

The Depot operates, thanks to donations from generous Darien citizens and businesses, the announcement said. This translates into leadership and humanitarian lessons for the youth of Darien not taught in school or at home— skill sets that have taught kids how to go the extra mile within their community each day— and especially during COVID, it said..

“The Depot is instrumental in teaching our kids how to give back, and now, more than ever, our kids are showing us first-hand what it is to be resilient, empathetic and proactive members of society,” said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. “The self-confidence that comes with developing and executing a plan to help others cannot be overstated. The Depot is a fundamental community resource that is making great kids into our future leaders.”

“During the past months, our kids have continued to show their incredible ability to lead. Their awareness of the needs of others was no surprise and really became the number one priority for them. They continued to make the needs of others their priority, doing whatever they could to help,” said Janice Marzano, Depot program director.

“From organizing food drives to publicly showcasing the uptick in domestic violence during this precarious time. The leadership they displayed was remarkable to witness; I am so very proud of each and every one of them,” she said

In addition to its Student Governing Board, The Depot offers seven high school empowerment clubs; four middle school programs; several educational programs discussing such topics as vaping, consent, eating disorders, anxiety and substance abuse; as well as numerous activities and events ranging from drop-in weekend nights to community projects. In all The Depot reaches and serves over a thousand kids a year.

“My experience as a member and leader at The Depot has enabled me to give back to my community, while also teaching me how to make the best of every situation,” said Georgia Sheehan, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) co-president and vice president of the Student Governing Board.

The Depot has an adult board of directors led by parents and co-presidents Catherine McNear and Jenny Tarleton.

Tarleton said, “The Depot gives our kids a special lens to recognize their potential in making the world a better place, as well as the tools, skillsets and self-confidence to give back to a community and world that has given them so much.”

“While the pandemic has wrought havoc on the day-to-day routines of our kids, one of the silver linings has been seeing these kids use the skills they have learned from their involvement in The Depot to proactively come up with ways to give back,” McNear added.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through this secure website: https://dariendepot.com/donate, or text “donate” to 56651.