2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the formation of a new junior
youth group in the Stittsville-Kanata area. For the past year
this group (one of 30 such groups in the Ottawa area) consisting of six
junior youths (11-14 year olds) and three animators (facilitators),
have met every Sunday to study the Junior Youth Empowerment Program
(JYEP) materials by the Ruhi Institute, discuss spiritual topics, plan
service projects, and play and socialize with their peers. Over the
past year, the junior youth have not only grown in height, but in
maturity as well. Leeder Haydarinejad, the parent of one of the junior
youth, said “The group discussions have given my son the confidence to
freely express his opinion and to make suggestions for the betterment
of his own self and the life of others.” The participants have
completed two junior youth books and have planned and carried out four
service projects with the help of their animators.
The books that they have completed are Glimmerings of Hope and Thinking
about Numbers. Through the study of the former, the junior youth
learned about the sad yet heartwarming story of Kibomi, a 12 year old
boy whose world is turned upside down after his parents are killed
during civil strife. “Through the study of this book, I learned about
hope and how to persevere in difficult situations” said Layla Yazdani,
one of the participants. The group also discussed the theme of justice.
To gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of this book, these
young people then produced a short video depicting Kibomi’s story.
While studying the book, Thinking about Numbers, they solved various
word problems and puzzles that helped them to learn about
problem-solving, critical thinking and accountability.
participants enthusiastically planned and carried out four service
projects. The first was a food drive for the Kanata Food Bank. They
also participated in park cleaning, assisted in the local bicentennial
celebration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, and created decorative flowers
as a gift for local community members.
In reflecting back on the year, the animators Sepehr Amirabadi, Adriana
Yan and Navid Askarinasab said they are happy that the junior youth
have become close friends through these classes. “They are learning to
think deeply about spiritual concepts and to express their thoughts
clearly. They enjoy the discussions as well as playing and serving
together“, said Sepehr. These young people are looking forward to
marking their first anniversary this week with a fun outing. They have
had a fruitful year and hope to have even better ones in the years to