The period between the ages of 12 to 14 represents a special time in the life of an individual, for it is during these years that he or she leaves childhood behind and undergoes profound change. The Pasadena Baha’i Community is engaging junior youth in programs that seek to enhance their spiritual and intellectual capacities and will prepare them to participate effectively in the affairs of their communities. Groups of 10 to 15 junior youth are formed and facilitated by trained individuals, who serve as mentors and role models. The themes the participants often study revolve around cooperation, unity, service to humanity, truthfulness, striving for excellence in their lives and for the community, and justice.
Here is one recent account from a participant in the classes Stephanie Jimenez, who asked to write about her experience:
In the Junior Youth Group that I am currently in, I have seen the amazing differences it has brought into my friends and the community I live in. I am very happy to say, that because of this Program, my friends are able to help out the community through service projects, and have learned how to decipher a bad deed from a good deed. It’s changed our view on life, and has taught us to be detached from material things. We’ve learned from the choices we make every day, and analyze how we can help out our neighbors. These experiences have helped us become like a family, being able to talk to each other whenever something bothers us, and confiding in one another.
This program itself reaches out to people’s hearts. Parents get to see their children growing up into wonderful leaders, and the youth themselves get to learn how to express their feelings, the true meaning of helping out others, and the wonderful bonds that can be made by showing kind virtues to their fellow friends.