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A statewide initiative to elevate youth voice on the biggest needs facing Colorado

The YouthScan Project is a statewide system to keep youth voice front and center on the decisions that impact their lives. It’s an infrastructure to elevate youth voice on community issues, identify emerging needs in real time, and highlight youth solutions.


Youth know the issues in their schools and communities three years before adults. This project seeks to tap into this insightful perspective on a meaningful scale to help inform decision-making across our great state. The immediate and rapidly changing needs related to COVID-19 make it even more critical that we’re able to respond to emerging needs more quickly.

The YouthScan Project is an initiative of YouthRoots, a Colorado-based nonprofit with the mission of unleashing the power of youth to change the world.


There’s an opportunity deficit for youth looking to do community impact work. The project gives youth an outlet for during a time of isolation and helplessness. Young people have a unique perspective about issues facing our communities because they’re living them every day. Research suggests that youth know the issues three years before adults. This knowledge is a critical resource that is vastly underutilized.


Schools, districts, and teachers are burdened with the impossible task of educating students safely during COVID-19. The YouthScan Project was designed as five individually-driven sessions that are flexible and easy to implement. The program is built on a user-friendly virtual platform that requires little work from schools. The program touches upon 28 Colorado Academic Standards.


We will collect and analyze the results coming in from all corners of the state. We will then funnel this information to decision-makers to provide greater voice to the biggest issues facing youth in our communities. The results will be in real time, giving leaders in government, education, and philanthropy the ability to respond to emerging issues much more quickly.


The YouthScan Project is a data project that taps into the collective knowledge of young people.

We partner with youth in classrooms, high schools, and youth-serving organizations across the state to create youth-generated data on a meaningful scale in real time. The data informs decision-makers about the biggest needs facing youth, and taps into their insight on solutions. Everyone is trying to maximize the impact of limited resources. This project will get real data — straight from young people themselves — to help all of us make better decisions during a rapidly changing environment. Youth are living through additional unprecedented challenges due to our global pandemic. The YouthScan Project expands capacity to act with urgency at every level. 

The YouthScan Project takes high school-aged youth through a self-guided peer-based Community Needs Assessment. Over five sessions, participants use research, surveys, and interviews to select what they see as the top issue(s) facing youth in their community. The program is free, 100% self-guided and YouthRoots provides all the logistical support needed to make it happen in any size youth-serving organization.

Our team will compile all the data and funnel that information back to organizations where youth are participating, and to decision-makers across philanthropy, government, education, and more. The wider community has access to real-time perspectives on emerging needs facing youth — the issues and ideas for solutions. The information will help target programs, funds, and initiatives to where they will make the biggest impact.

Young people already have this knowledge. The YouthScan Project engages youth as partners in creating a system for meaningful scale to elevate youth voice.

To engage youth participants in The YouthScan Project, contact or sign up for more info below.

“I didn’t have the courage to step up and be a leader before. I didn’t have the bravery to start the conversation. Now, I can speak up, and loudly.”

Proudly sponsored by FirstBank

The YouthScan Project is a recipient of The Education Innovation Fund, supported by Gates Family Foundation, Lyra Colorado, Empower Schools, RESCHOOL Colorado, the Donnell-Kay Foundation, Colorado Succeeds, and RootED.