In January 2018, The Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force sponsored a survey of approximately 1,800 seventh through twelfth grade Middlesex and Darien High School students.  The survey yielded valuable information about what our teens think about their lives, futures, values and relationships with their families, teachers, coaches, friends and neighbors. The survey results will be provided to the town on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at a Darien Library forum.

The Community Fund’s commitment to local needs assessment led us to the Search Institute’s survey of the “40 Developmental Assets” in 2008.  The Developmental Assets are key traits, experiences, skills, relationships and values that all children and teens need to grow into independent, caring and resilient adults.  The survey measures important indicators of well-being — self-esteem, positive values, family, school and community support -as well as risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.  We want our kids to have as many assets as possible, ideally between 31-40. Research shows that the more assets young people possess, the less likely they are to participate in risky behaviors, and conversely, the more likely they are to thrive.  The survey is an evidence-based research tool that has been administered to Darien teens in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2018. With four rounds of data completed, we have the ability to track results historically and see areas of positive growth as well as trends in risky behaviors.

The Community Fund of Darien formed the Thriving Youth Task Force to bring together leaders in our town who work with youth for a concerted effort to promote the developmental assets in all reaches of the community.

The Community Fund of Darien works to improve the lives of those in our community through needs assessment, community education, and thoughtful grant making.   For more information, additional asset building tips, or to get involved, please visit To help support the work of The Community Fund, donations can be made online at