Darien and its residents are fairly well familiar with what they perceive to be a sound investment. Whether it be our schools, our homes, our town facilities, or our downtown —we want to care for it and maximize its value and benefit.

Beyond those material things, what could be more important for a town that believes in sound investments than investing in our children?

Darien is a town that promotes and applauds excellence. That is to be admired, but we sometimes forget that it is also a ton of pressure on those who both revel in that excellence and those who can’t — or don’t believe they can — come close to achieving it.

Kids today have it harder than their parents did growing up in many ways. Bullying takes on a whole new dimension when it is expanded into today’s social media. Children can become targeted by attacks that are both anonymous and rapidly broadcastable.

Access to substances is not only easier, the substances are more deadly. Pressures children put on themselves or feel from outside forces drive them to these substances or other harmful behaviors. And parents and children with the closest relationship still sometimes might have a tough time communicating openly.

The Depot and Janice Marzano serve as a place for all children and teens (and even young adults) to find refuge, to seek that stable foundation they know will always be there for them.

It serves as a platform and a prompt for extremely difficult parental and family conversations — substance abuse, sexual activity, suicide, mental illness, and eating disorders, to name a few.

Janice is willing to put herself personally on the line if she feels a program is critical for Darien kids’ safety — she fights for what she believes is right and stands up for the children of Darien. She never runs out of ideas for educational, emotional and psychological programs that are critical resources for kids.

And above all, she and the Depot make sure Darien’s kids have fun in a safe, substance-free environment.

It is critical that the Darien community not only invest in this resource during The Depot’s annual appeal, but also make the best use of it. If you haven’t been to The Depot, visit it. If your kids don’t take part in its programs, encourage them to try it out. There are many towns in Connecticut that don’t have such a place as The Depot, and there is no other town in the country that has someone like Janice Marzano at its youth center’s helm.

Don’t squander such an opportunity — invest in it, respect it, and above all — make good use of it.