INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to passionate leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.

 



 

Lauren CzajkaLauren Czajka is the Executive Director of YouthRoots. Follow them on Facebook and learn more at youthroots.org.

WHAT DO YOU DO?
YouthRoots teaches teenagers how to change the world! We’re a youth-led organization that intertwines leadership development with community improvement by building diverse young leaders who respond to emerging issues. We use philanthropy (community needs assessment, fundraising, and grant-making) as the experiential classroom to help youth find their voice and learn the skills to make real impact.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Youth are awesome and capable and energetic, but society has the horrible habit of not creating space for youth to do big things. So YouthRoots is just that – we harness the energy and optimism of youth, mix that with some skill building, and help develop young leaders who will create a better future.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We’re helping develop young leaders who have the skills to change the world. Additionally, through the program, our participants respond to emerging community issues. Participants have raised and granted more than $100,000 to Colorado nonprofits while becoming leaders and activists in the process. This funding has benefited more than 65,000 at-risk youth.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Our participants inspire me every day! They are a constant reminder to our team about why we do this work.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I’ve witnessed the change that our program makes on our participants, so I want to get as many students involved in YouthRoots as possible. Our big dream is to make leadership and philanthropy programming accessible to diverse high schoolers across the nation.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
People who share our vision of developing diverse young leaders…. oh yeah, and a little thing called money. 🙂

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
We’ve been growing since we were founded in 2010, so our biggest challenge is always shifting. Right now we’re looking for potential partners — community organizations interested in bringing accessible youth philanthropy programming to teens in their own communities.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Follow your heart and don’t give up! Nail down the unique value that you bring to the world and figure out how to share it with others who will benefit from it and/or support it.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Contact us through our website! We love volunteers, supporters, and simply getting the word out there about our work.

 


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