Philippine Bahá’í Community

Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program

“Undoubtedly, it is within your power to contribute significantly to shaping the societies of the coming century; youth can move the world.”
The Universal House of Justice, 3 January 1985

The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP) is the Bahá’í community’s response to the needs of a very important stage in a person’s life—the three-year period of transition from being a child to a youth: a young adolescent between 12 and 15 or what we refer to as “junior youth”.

Contrary to popular view that suggests this period as turbulent, this special stage needs to be properly understood as a time wherein a junior youth undergoes rapid physical, intellectual and emotional changes that, when tapped and directed positively, will allow them to develop qualities, form concepts, and enhance capabilities that will make them contribute to the betterment of their community and the world in general.

In junior youth spiritual empowerment program, these young adolescents engage in meaningful conversations about topics that are relevant to their age and the community in which they live. Along with their animator—who may be a youth—they consult and reflect on the implications of their speech and actions. Development of spiritual qualities and learning how to make moral decisions are facilitated through study of meaningful stories, reflection on the positive and negative forces around them and the impact of these forces on their lives and the community they live. With the help of their animator, the junior youths also engage in acts of community service in their immediate surroundings, which ultimately develop their capacity to serve the society at large.

“Children and junior youth…have proven time and again their capacity to engage in discussions on abstract subjects, undertaken at a level appropriate to their age, and derive great joy from the serious pursuit of understanding.

The program is carried out to equip these young adolescents with a strong moral identity that will allow them to transcend beyond the prevailing ills of society and dedicate their capacities and energy towards building a better world.