“Our Darien” begins book club in January

The first book in the book club is "Beautiful Boy."

The first book in the book club is "Beautiful Boy."


DARIEN — A new book group on teen substance abuse, as well as another community dinner for a cause are part of the Community Fund of Darien’s busy January.

As part of its “Our Darien” campaign, The Community Fund of Darien, in partnership with the Thriving Youth Task Force, is encouraging parents to join the conversation about teen substance abuse.

The group is launching its first virtual book group in January, which will culminating live discussion via Zoom on Feb. 3.

The featured book is the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. The book group is the first in a series of events designed to educate parents about youth mental health, the dangers of substance abuse and how they can best support their teens.

Before David Sheff’s son Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was charming, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. In the book, Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the 3 a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up.

Each week in January, the book group will explore several chapters of the memoir, with questions provided by the Darien Library.

The virtual group will launch on Monday, Jan. 11 on the Our Darien Facebook page. Participants in the private, moderated forum are encouraged to share their thoughts and formulate questions as they read.

The final live discussion Zoom event on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. will feature Frank Bartolomeo, director of adolescent services of Silver Hill Hospital, who will offer his perspective on addiction, warning signs and prevention tips.

The memoir is available at the Darien Library in print and digitally, and can also be purchased at Barrett Bookstore. Those who mention the Our Darien Book Group will get a 10 percent discount) and other booksellers.

Also, on Sunday, Jan. 24, the Community Fund is hosting another ‘Community Dinner for a Cause’ meal from Nino’s Darien. The cost of the meal is $150 per family, with 50 percent of purchase price benefiting our most vulnerable neighbors. The meal features a complimentary home delivery

Reserve a meal at communityfunddarien.org.

In February, former NBA professional basketball player and addiction recovery advocate Chris Herren returns virtually to Darien for a Zoom presentation on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. Herren will will share his experiences and his road to sobriety.

The Community Fund of Darien has partnered with Barrett Bookstore, the Darien Depot, the Darien Library, Silver Hill Hospital, Trinity Church and The YWCA of Darien/Norwalk on these events.

For the past four years, The Community Fund of Darien, in collaboration with the Thriving Youth Task Force has educated Darien teens and adults about the dangers of teen binge drinking through the “Our Darien” social marketing campaign.

This public health initiative aims to shine a spotlight on the impact of alcohol on the teen brain and to offer proven tactics towards healthier attitudes and behaviors. A growing body of research shows an ongoing parent-child dialogue about risky behaviors, combined with clear rules and consequences, equips students to make healthy choices in the short and long term.

The “Our Darien” campaign is funded by a grant from the state of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.