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Community News Current
June 28, 2018

Stittsville/Kanata Junior Youth Group Marks First Anniversary

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April 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.
The 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 come.

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