Using the Newspaper to Identify Needs

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Community needs
Identifying Needs
Needs Assessment
Youth Advisory Committee
Youth Club
In this activity participants run a basic needs assessment by scanning the newspaper or other community resources for issues and resources. The youth identify which needs are being met already and which ones are not, leading them to focus on what types of grants they want to give that year.

What needs have you heard about in your community? How can grantmaking serve those needs? 


60 minutes 


  • For each small group, copies of/links to three local newspapers or new sources (may include school newspaper)
  • Access to online news sources, if possible
  • Chart paper or board to write on


  1. Move the youth into small groups. Each group is given three newspapers and/or access to online news sources, if applicable. 
  2. Group participants skim local newspapers and online media sources for articles that illustrate either a community need or a resource (person or place) that meets the need. Example: Shelter for Homeless Established. Members of the group define the needs indicated by the articles and write them down. 
  3. After 20 minutes, bring the small groups back together. Participants share their findings with the larger group. Note: several groups may have focused on the same need.  One person writes down the needs on chart paper or a board so everyone can see them. As the groups discuss needs found, they can group the needs and resources into meaningful categories, in a way that makes sense to the group. 
  4. To conclude, ask the youth participants to dicuss which community needs they would like to address through grantmaking. Have them review how some needs may already be getting met. Look up and identify local resources where the needs are addressed. Talk about next steps to learn more.


  • How did the newspaper spark ideas? How did the idea evolve through discussion?
  • What are good ways to learn about resources and needs in the community?