Being student-led is messy but perfect

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By Henry Fox

I honestly joined YouthRoots on a bit of a whim, my debate captain had told me about the program, and I thought it sounded interesting so I applied. I have come to realize that YouthRoots isn’t your traditional volunteer organization and that’s why I love it so much. It’s a group that centers on student leadership while still engaging in the serious work of a nonprofit. Raising money through pitches, reading IRS 990 tax forms to thoroughly analyze grant proposals, identifying problems in our community then conducting interviews with topic experts, and working as a cohesive board to finally grant a large sum of money—this is all done by students.

The meetings are something to see. A group of students coming together after soccer games, homework, SAT’s and more. The coolest part for me is that there is a real focus on having the “Executive Committee” lead meetings, a group I have been a part of my last two years. We focus on issues relating to the youth of Denver and utilize our board’s personal experience and diversity as a tool in the process. What we end up accomplishing is atypical for such a student-led organization. A unified effort raising thousands of dollars going directly to the issues we have pinpointed in our immediate community. It’s not always the smoothest process, organizing the combined effort of over 30 kids, but that’s what makes it such a perfect experience for leadership. 

YouthRoots raises a remarkable amount of donations every year, but the impact of learning how to help organize a large operation with a diverse group of kids and improve problems in my community are tools I have gained from the program.

Alyssa HornyakBeing student-led is messy but perfect