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Past Programs & Events
Coaching Your Teen/Tween to Make Positive Decisions!
Thursday, February 8th at 7pm
via Zoom
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The Thriving Youth Darien 2023 Youth Survey of 6th-12th graders showed that the most significant increases in alcohol use happen between 8th and 9th grade, and then again between 11th and 12th grade – most often at a party or with friends at a home. How can you help your kids stay safe & manage tricky social situations?


Joyce Sixsmith, Darien High School’s Connections Counselor, and John Hamilton, President and CEO of Liberation Programs, joined us on February 8th at 7pm for an interactive Zoom webinar about how to help your teen/tween make healthy decisions about the social/party scene and shared tips for talking about the potential risks and consequences of substance use – its impact on physical health, mental well-being, academic performance, and future opportunities. 

Program brought to you by Thriving Youth Darien, Liberation Programs and YWCA Parent Awareness, 

October 24, 2023 at 7pm
Middlesex Middle School Auditorium
"Growing Up in Public" with Dr. Devorah Heitner
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How do we help our kids navigate growing up in a world where nearly every moment of their lives can be shared and compared? Dr. Devorah Heitner joined us on Tuesday, October 24th at 7pm at the Middlesex Middle School auditorium to discuss her new book - "Growing Up in Public" - and offer strategies to help our tweens and teens navigate boundaries, identity, privacy, and reputation in their always-connected digital world.  Program sponsored by Thriving Youth Darien, Middlesex Parent Association, YWCA Parent Awareness, The Depot, YMCA Darien/Norwalk, Family Centers, and Kids in Crisis.

October 12, 2023 at 7pm
Darien Library
2023 Darien Youth Survey Community Presentation
2022-2023 Past Programs & Events
May 10, 2023 at 7pm
Darien High School Auditorium
"The Emotional Lives of Teenagers" featuring Dr. Lisa Damour and Reena Ninan
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The Middlesex Parent Association along with Darien High School Parent Association, YWCA Parent Awareness and the Thriving Youth Task Force presented an interactive discussion with New York Times bestselling author, CBS Mornings contributor, and clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour featuring her new book, "The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable and Compassionate Adolescents." Dr. Damour was joined by Reena Ninan, Ask Lisa Podcast co-host, television journalist, and Darien mother who moderated the discussion. 

In anticipation of Dr. Lisa Damour’s visit to Darien on May 10th, this spring the TYTF Book Group read Dr. Damour’s new book! 

Click TYTF Book Group to join our Facebook Book Group & consider the thought-provoking questions as you read.

March 22, 2023 at 7pm
Darien Library Community Room
"Don't Wait" documentary screening & discussion

TYTF held a screening and panel discussion of “Don’t Wait,” the award-winning film from the nonprofit organization Addiction is Real about substance use prevention & early intervention utilizing the power of proactive parenting. “Don’t Wait” provides insights on why it’s essential for parents to talk to their kids early and often; how to best approach these conversations; and what to do if you spot the signs of drug and alcohol use in your child. The program is intended for elementary, middle and high school parents.


The 52-minute screening was followed by a discussion with Executive Director Erin Kelley and Emeritus Board Member Pam Greenberg, a mother featured in the film, who shared their personal experiences with a family member's addiction. Attendees virtually explored a teen’s bedroom to learn to identify the signs of drug and alcohol use through a “Hidden in Plain View” experience. 

Presented by the Thriving Youth Task Force, The Depot Youth Center, Silver Hill Hospital and YWCA Parent Awareness.

March 7, 2023 at 7pm
The Thriving Youth Task Force Presents:
Darien Youth Community Conversation - "What Darien Teens Wish Adults Knew"

Hosted by Darien Library 

The Thriving Youth Task Force recently gathered a diverse cross-section of 30 Darien 10th-12th graders from three high schools for a solutions-focused listening session – the Darien Youth Community Conversation - about what they wished adults in their families, community, and schools knew about life as a Darien teen.  

On Tuesday, March 7th at 7pm at the Darien Library, several of the students from the Darien Youth Community Conversation will share the group’s thoughts about what they wish adults knew to help us better understand their perspective on what it is like to be a teen in Darien. 

A panel of experts who specialize in children & adolescents will also provide their insights about positive changes we can all make and strategies to build strong & healthy relationships with teens: Rebecca Campbell, LCSW and Director of Therapy Services for Sasco River Center; psychologist Dr. Tara Levinson, who has a private practice in Westport; and Tracey Masella, LCSW, who has a private practice in Wilton, works in association with Silver Hill Hospital, and is the Clinical Director of The Krasner Adolescent Institute.

January 26, 2022
Creating a Bully-Free Culture
Presented by Thriving Youth Task Force and YWCA Parent Awareness
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December 13, 2022
Community Overdose Awareness and Narcan Training
Presented by Post 53, The Hub, Thriving Youth Task Force and Kids in Crisis

Learn how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and save a life by administering Narcan (Naloxone), a safe medication that can save someone's life by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose.  

October 12, 2022
Connecting with your Tween While They are Still Listening
with Dr. Amanda Craig, LMFT

So you have a Tween! What now? Dr. Amanda Craig knows what it’s like to watch your child go from a sweet elementary student to moody tween in the span of just a few years and she’s here to help navigate you through it!

This interactive and engaging workshop with Darien’s own Dr. Amanda Craig helped us better understand this unique age group and learn tips and tricks to stay connected while also starting to let go.

In partnership with the YWCA Parent Awareness and the Middlesex Parents Association.

Click image below for the slide deck of Dr. Amanda Craig's presentation

2021-2022 Past Programs & Events

During the 2021-2022 school year, TYTF’s programming committee coordinated six special events, informed by findings from our most recent TYTF/Darien Public Schools Student Survey of Darien 7-12th grade students about their mental health and substance use trends. Over 1,000 Darien parents and community members registered for the events. 

May 5, 2022
Strategies to Support Your Child's Mental Health: What We Learned from the TYTF Darien Student Survey
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The Thriving Youth Task Force’s recent student survey of Darien 7th-12th graders revealed significant mental health differences between students who self-identified as male or female. This May 4th discussion summarized these results, and our panelists Olivia Bucci, LMSW, Renee Reopell, LCSW and Andrew Tepper, LCSW, shared insights and strategies for parents seeking to support their child’s mental health. 

Some of the resources mentioned by our presenters include:

  • The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

  • Grit by Angela Duckworth

  • The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel

  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

  • A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

  • Driven by Daniel Pink

  • On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers

  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

  • Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood by Lisa Damour

  • Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour 


  • "Grit and the Importance of Trying New Things" with Angela Duckworth with Brene Brown

  • "Dare to Lead" with Brene Brown

Child Mind- Tips for Communicating with your Teen
Screenagers- Parenting Apps
National Eating Disorder Association
Role Modeling
It Gets Better- LGBTQ Glossary

April 4, 2022
"Chasing Childhood"

As the world reopens, there has never been a better time for us to come together to ask ourselves: What do kids need most to thrive? "Chasing Childhood" examines how free play and independence have all but disappeared from kids’ lives, supplanted by relentless perfectionism and record high levels of anxiety and depression.

"Chasing Childhood" spotlights experts and families who are empowering young people to explore their independence, enjoy unstructured time, and be free to thrive.

The Thriving Youth Task Force and YWCA Parent Awareness presented a community conversation about reimagining a healthier, happier way forward for our kids on Monday, April 4th at 7pm with educator Dr. Michael Hynes and Genevieve Eason, who championed the free play movement in Wilton.  Both are featured in the film. This program was made possible with support from the Child Guidance Center of Southern CT, the Darien Youth Commission, the Darien Depot Youth Center, the Middlesex Parent Association and Silver Hill Hospital.

2020-2021 Programs & Events
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