Junior Youth Empowerment Programme
The Bahá'í community offers an open and welcoming environment for junior youth (11-14 years) who want to strive for high ideals.
The Empowerment Programme is a global initiative aimed at endowing youth with the ability to recognise the constructive and destructive forces in society and to channel their energies towards becoming agents of positive change in the world. Group members meet weekly to develop their intellectual and spiritual capabilities, and to identify and plan service projects they would like to carry out in their communities.
The programme is founded on the belief that those in their early adolescent years possess altruism, a sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe, and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world. The programme helps junior youth to form a strong moral identity and empowers them to contribute to the well-being of their communities and the world at large.
To those who are in the stage of life of emerging into adulthood, the Bahá'í Faith offers goals that are inspiring and principles that will endure.
The Bahá'í teachings encourage junior youth in their idealism and their hope for the future, boosting their confidence during the period when they are forming their personal values and making many decisions that will set the course of their lives. They are at an age when their minds are at their most questioning, and when they will adopt the spiritual attitudes and values that will guide their future.
The Bahá'í community supports junior youth in three arenas of their development:
1) The foundation of a person's achievements is the formation of a good character which is fostered by having a spiritual approach to life, in contrast to the materialism that pervades society. Through study of the Bahá'í sacred writings, individually and in study groups with others, junior youth have the opportunity to learn concepts that enable them to make sense of life, and live it to the full.
2) Participation in service projects, chosen by the junior youth themselves, and offered as a contribution to the society in which they live. Involvement in such projects gives junior youth an outlet for their tremendous energy and vitality and, combined with a positive vision of the future, is a great antidote to worries about dangers to the well-being and security of the human race – concerns which naturally arise in the minds of junior youth who witness the many major crises the world is facing.
3) The Bahá'í teachings encourage people to dedicate themselves to their trades or professions and to achieve excellence in their chosen field of work. Bahá’ís believe that work carried out in a spirit of service is a form of worship. Therefore, the work ethic the Bahá'í community seeks to instill in junior youth is a desire to succeed in their studies, training and professional development. With such an attitude, junior youth prepare themselves well to assume their future responsibilities.
Junior youth who are looking for a way of life that is spiritually satisfying, and parents who want to encourage their children to develop a strong sense of purpose, may well find that joining some of the activities of the Bahá'í community offers excellent opportunities for personal growth.
To find out about junior youth activities in your area, please contact the Bahá'í National Office.