The Conscience of the Community
The youth are the conscience of the community. They have been from time immemorial. In their questioning eyes can be seen the hope for a better future and the plea for a more humane present. In their eyes can be seen the respect for adults whose character has proven to be noble, virtuous, and true, and also the silent condemnation and veiled contempt for the adults who have proven to be ruthless and untrustworthy.
As they age, teenagers see and understand more and many turn away from their rightful inheritance of leadership and stewardship of the community. Others embrace it and struggle valiantly to translate their idealism into reality. Far too many turn away.
“O Thou kind Lord! Grant that this youth may attain unto that which is the highest aspiration of the holy ones. Endow him with the wings of Thy strengthening grace—wings of detachment and divine aid—that he may soar thereby into the atmosphere of Thy tender mercy, be able to partake of Thy celestial bestowals, may become a sign of divine guidance and a standard of the Concourse on high. Thou art the Potent, the Powerful, the Seeing, the Hearing.”
The purpose of the youth programs offered by the Baha’is of our community is to help our teenagers develop strong and virtuous characters, wise in the ways of the world, but gentle of spirit. Cultivating an independent spirit while learning to value the interdependencies of modern life help our young people appreciate how valuable community is. By building better communities our young people contribute to the building of an ever-advancing world civilization.
Our youth have the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of the adults, and move forward, surmounting all obstacles, but in their way. In order to do this the youth must develop the qualities and virtues that make a person standout among their peers and strong enough to meet the darts of doubt and duplicity. There is always hope and we can help them. That’s what Bahá'í Youth programs are all about.
Step up and be a leader, a real leader. Leadership by example is at the heart of our approach and every youth in our community is invited to join. Our programs are free and fun.
Our programs are educational, moral, and spiritual without being religious or political. Our programs get the youth involved with active learning with an emphasis on grassroots community service. In addition, our youth work with younger children, teaching them the fundamental virtues and building blocks of character development.
Teenagers need to find a place for themselves in the world. They are very creative but that creativity can be constructive or destructive. The arts are an excellent way to express the boundless energy and creative enthusiasm of our youth.
“The number one message of the workshops is ‘unity in diversity.’ We are trying to say that all people, despite their differences, are created to give something back to the world and that the best way to solve problems is to work together.”
Oscar DeGruy, Founder of the first Bahá'í Youth Workshop
What better way to express these enormous principles than through the arts. Teenagers understand this better than anyone. For adults, it’s a way to recast a tough truth into a more palatable form.
A Bahá'í Youth Workshop is offered at the Bahá'í Center in Beaverton. It’s free. It’s fun. Join us and make new friends. Join us and make a difference. And here is an example of a project done by the Los Angeles Youth Workshop: