Junior Youth & Youth Programs

Books & Themes Explored: JY ProgramSome Answers To Questions | Baha’i Hip Hop & Rap | Prayers for Youth | Oneness/Unity in Diversity/Elimination of Prejudice & Racism | Short videos on the  Baha’i Faith – Kids /Youth/(ELL) | MÚSICA-Prejovenes 

What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program?  Ages 12 – 15 (7:00) Toronto, Canada (Watch this video. You will love it!)

If you are between the ages of 12 and 15 you can ask to join a Junior Youth Program in your community. If there isn’t one already in your area your inquiry is important as it can be the catalyst to get one started.  These programs strive to give you a voice in today’s society. It aims to enhance your power of expression, sharpen your spiritual perception which helps you to analyse the constructive and destructive forces of society. There will be an Animator (older youth or adult) to assist the group in this process.

About this video:

It begins after having had the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program in this neighborhood in Toronto, Canada for six years. After having gone through the junior youth program the older youth are now serving as animators to the younger youth. 

“If you were here in the community five years ago there was a lot of violence present in the community. But through the establishment of this program the future generations were guided toward a more positive direction and the service projects that they have done have impacted the community in a positive way and presently you do not see violence in our community.” Esther, an animator, from Toronto, Canada

Become a Force for Positive Change

Image: JYSEP overview by Sandy Gordon / Color Me Human – Eric Doizer

Join a Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program

  • Take charge of your emotional, spiritual and intellectual health
  • Develop a strong sense of purpose
  • Sharpen your spiritual perception
  • Use your talents to contribute to your community
  • Enhance language skills and the power of expression
  • Hang out with friends who share a positive outlook
  • Reflect upon you actions within an ethical frame of reference
  • Collaborate in acts of service
  • Additional benefits here

Is this a religious program?

These programs are inspired by the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith but they are not a form of religious instruction. The moral concepts that underlie the books are incorporated in such a way as to touch on universal themes that are enriching to junior youth from all religious and cultural backgrounds as well as no religious background. Baha’is all over the world are working hand in hand with others to help bring about a spiritual transformation of society. 

What materials are used in this program? Books & Themes Explored: Junior Youth Program 

Junior Youth Empowerment Program – Raleigh/Durham NC Yasmine’s Story : affluent neighborhood in Denver (6:06) | JYSEP – Jackson, Tennessee (4:48) | Find Baha’is  US call 1-800-22-UNITE

Image: JYSEP overview by Sandy Gordon

Service Opportunities for Youth:

Image: JYSEP overview by Sandy Gordon / Color Me Human – Eric Doizer

What is the role of a Junior Youth Animator?  15 or older 

Assist – Reinforce – Cultivate – Encourage – Befriend

The presence of the animator helps the members of the junior youth group to remain hopeful and convinced that they can not only protect themselves against the forces of moral decay operating in the society around them but also contribute to its betterment. They treat the junior youth as equals encouraging them to ask questions, raise doubts and engage in the investigation of reality. The younger youth look up to them as role models. However, there is no upper age limit to becoming an animator.

To Serve Humanity a series of short films captures the insights and conversation among participants, at youth conferences around the world, as they explore some of the themes that are central to the process of community building.

How do I Become an Animator?

Training courses assist you in developing spiritual insight, knowledge, and the skills needed. When starting a new group animators are accompanied by an experienced animator. Periodic gatherings of animators provide continual support as you work together to enhance the overall program. These courses are free of charge. 

Examples: DC Baha’i Community (For Youth Animators role in facilitating the Junior Youth Program begin at minute 8:10) | Diana’s Junior Youth Group (2:32)When you get involved with this program, you’re doing more than helping others. For Diana, (from El Salvador) becoming a mentor changed her own life too.   Serving Youth in Early Adolescence (7:25) | The Navajo Junior Youth & Community Beautification Project (6:17) | JYSEP Apartment Complex, Jackson, Tenn.(8:35) | Empowering Junior Youth – TEDx Talks (16:18) | Find Baha’is  US call 1-800-22-UNITE 

A Teacher of Spiritual Education Classes for Children :

When we inspire young ones to grow up with pure and kind hearts, the future of humanity will be bright. Deep inside, our hearts yearn to become what God has created us for: to be beautiful spiritual beings. And for that purpose, Baha’is, and others who choose to walk this path with us, offer classes open to children of all religious backgrounds. In these classes children will learn to develop spiritual qualities, such as truthfulness, kindness, love and justice. My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart… In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love…The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice… ~ Baha’u’llah (Tree of Unity

How can I teach children about being spiritual when I’m just learning about this myself? 

There are simple training courses along with lesson plans to assist you in this service. Find Baha’is  US call 1-800-22-UNITE 

Image: JYSEP overview by Sandy Gordon / Color Me Human – Eric Doizer

What is meant by a twofold moral purpose? (5:27)

These programs instill in junior youth and youth the sense of a twofold moral purpose:
(1) to take charge of their own intellectual and spiritual growth
(2) to contribute to the transformation of society.

The transformation in the individual and in society are intimately linked. Developing one’s potential and working for the welfare of society cannot be separated, for a person’s moral standards and behavior shape his or her environment and in turn are molded by the structure of society.

In service to the younger generation, animators are given an opportunity both to develop their own skills and capacities as well as to contribute to the development of their communities. (arising2serve)

Can I really help to build a new civilization? (5:08) 

These programs are a part of a global culture of learning taking place in cities, towns and villages all over the world.

  • Fostering a spirit of friendship and intimacy that transcends the barriers of race and class
  • Working together for a social order free of prejudice and characterized by unity in diversity
  • Learning to walk with others on the spiritual path, in a humble posture of learning, engaging in individual and collective service for the betterment of the world
  • Classes for the spiritual education for children in which they develop virtues such as truthfulness, kindness and compassion as well as a deep appreciation for the fundamental unity of the various world religions
  • Groups that assist young people to navigate a crucial stage of their lives and to withstand the corrosive forces that especially target them
  • Circles of study wherein the participants reflect on the spiritual nature of existence and build capacity for service to the community and society
  • Home visits to build strong bonds of friendship, have meaningful conversations or to offer support by praying together
  • A program that recognizes the power of communities to unify, heal, and transcend differences
  • People working alongside one another in their neighborhoods and villages to begin a process of collective transformation  
  • A process that seeks to raise capacity within a population to take charge of its own spiritual, social and intellectual development where everyone feels empowered to contribute to the betterment of all.
  • A cyclical pattern of reflection, consultation, planning, and action is put on a systematic basis, so that those involved learn from each cycle and are thus constantly improving their plans of action 
  • Gatherings for collective worship that strengthen the devotional character of the community
It is one thing to protest against particular forms of injustice. It is a far more profound challenge to create a new framework for justice. Our efforts can only succeed when we learn to build relationships with each other based on sincere friendship, regard, and trust, which, in turn, become pillars for the activities of our institutions and communities. Forging A Path To Racial Justice


Baha’u’llaha Spiritual Educator, who lived in the nineteenth century, states: 

  • The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. 
  • The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men…The establishment of order in the world and the tranquillity of the nations depend upon it.
  • So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

Attire mine head with the crown of justice, and my temple with the ornament of equity.  ~ Baha’u’llah

Justice must be considered a fundamental, integral feature of human behavior. Ultimately, the triumph of justice depends on how well the members of the human race can understand and practice the positive character traits and inner spiritual qualities that lie at the heart all the world’s religions. (from We All Want Justice, But What Does It Really Mean? Articles on Justice at BahaiTeachings.org)

Download a poster with 99 virtues – Virtues: The Gift of Character

See also on this website: Justice, Unity & Consultation | Consultation: the Operating Expression of Justice in Human Affairs | Selected Baha’i Writings on Justice