Monday, June 2, 2014

What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program?

The junior youth spiritual empowerment program is open to young people aged between approximately 12 and 14 and assists them to navigate through a crucial stage in their lives. 

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 program helps them form a strong moral identity and empowers them to contribute to the well-being of their communities and the world at large. 

By developing their spiritual qualities (virtues), their intellectual capabilities and their capacities for service to society, the participants come to see that they can become agents of positive change in the world. 

The program adopts a participatory mode of learning where the facilitator and participants learn from each other. 

Groups of participants engage in activities such as artistic expression, discussion, drama, cooperative games, study of literature, storytelling, and acts of community service. 

The junior youth program explores themes from a Bahá'í perspective, but is not a formal religious education program. It is open to all, subject to parental approval. Junior youth groups meet on a regular basis and there is no written homework. 

There will be regular parent meetings and parent involvement is welcome.

Since its inception, the Ruhi Institute* has attached special importance to its work with youth aged 12 to 15; specifically, it has sought to understand the dynamics of maintaining small groups in local communities that offer a setting in which young people can discuss ideas and form a strong moral identity. The Institute has found the titles noted below, some of which are developed by other organizations, useful for this purpose. They are divided into two categories and are listed in order of difficulty. Several other titles will eventually be added to the Institute’s program for the spiritual empowerment of junior youth. 

All of the titles are concerned with developing language skills and the power of expression. Some in the first category also address mathematical concepts and social issues, while others seek to prepare young people to approach the investigation of physical, social and spiritual reality in a scientific manner. Though the moral concepts in the materials in the first category are drawn from the Bahá’í teachings, they are not religious in nature, nor do they treat subjects that are specifically Bahá’í. Many kinds of organizations, including academic institutions, will therefore find them useful for their educational programs with junior youth. The current titles in this category are:

·         Glimmerings of Hope
·         Thinking About Numbers
·         Walking the Straight Path
·         Learning About Excellence
·         Observation and Insight (not yet available)
·         The Human Temple
·         Drawing on the Power of the Word 

In its own work with young people, the Ruhi Institute includes the items in the second category, which address Bahá’í-related subjects. Among these subjects are those with which adolescents most often struggle, such as, free will and predestination and the complex relationship between will and knowledge. Currently, the following titles are in this category: 

·         Spirit of Faith
·         Power of the Holy Spirit

* The Ruhi Institute carries out active research in the educational field, in order to develop programs and materials that enhance the capacity of individuals and communities to serve humanity worldwide. 

No comments: