Youth Mentors - Animators
...The role that older youth, who relate to the experiences of early adolescence, can play in creating such an atmosphere is critical. Since the junior youth often look to them for examples of how to act, older youth are called to the sacred charge of helping their younger counterparts strengthen their moral foundations.
In this connection, youth from every cultural, religious, racial backgrounds in many communities are committing themselves to serving as animators of the junior youth spiritual empowerment programme. The programme gives young people “tools needed to combat the forces that would rob them of their true identity as noble beings and to work for the common good”. In a joyous and friendly group of peers that serves as an environment of mutual support, junior youth study texts that introduce various fundamental concepts. They are aided to sharpen their spiritual perception, to identify forces shaping society, and to enhance their powers of expression, which, in turn, enable them to understand and describe with clarity the world around them. Through acts of service, they learn together to tangibly contribute to the well-being of society.
Animators, acting as their friends, support and guide them in this process, careful to relate to them not as children but as young people with growing abilities to contribute to raising a new civilization. While fostering conditions that inspire selfless service to the community, animators are also watchful lest, without realizing it, the activities they facilitate evoke in their charges ego or self-centredness. Their interactions with parents of the junior youth nurture a collaborative spirit and help extend the positive environment created in the group to the homes and to the entire community.
The effect of the programme on the animators is equally significant. Whether they had been members of a junior youth group or not, they are all affected by the programme’s power to shape moral purpose. To the extent that they commit to their own spiritual growth will the effectiveness of their service to the younger generation increase. Mindful of the concepts inherited from society that affect their minds, animators are ever conscious of the effect of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on their thoughts and actions. They also strive to create an atmosphere among themselves and in their communities where the greatest joy is derived from aiding “one another scale the heights of service.”