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JUNIOR YOUTH STORIES


Below are examples of a few junior youth describing the change they are experiencing as a result of their participation in the programme:

Canada

The comments of a few of the fifty junior youth who attended one of two week-long camps in the York South cluster in Canada and, in addition to studying Spirit of Faith, were assisted by their animators to conduct children‘s classes and hold devotional gatherings for parents demonstrate the way their experience influenced them:

I learned about how beauty can connect to the soul, about justice, but the most was recognizing how important our soul is and how much we have to develop it for the next world. It made me feel more selfless. Teaching made you learn a lot as I noted that each day it got a little better, it was chaotic at first then the more children we worked with the easier it got, then we did a devotional meeting and it was all adults and they agreed on the concepts we talked about. You cannot give up the first day. It will get better. It will get better with God‘s help; this gave me experience about teaching.

I spent a lot of time on idle things that did not matter or contribute to the betterment of the world. Now, every night I am losing more interest in the things I used to find interesting. Now slowly I am being detached.

I learned about responsibility; when you are at home everything is in front of you but when I came here I had to sacrifice everything at home. I always had my mom there to pay attention to me but here I had to learn how to rely on God and trust in Him. Here I pay more attention to spiritual things; at home it is just video games and having fun. I am going to think more about God because He gave us everything that we have instead of the stuff that is not going to teach me anything.

 

Kenya

Junior youth commented on how participating in the program has helped them develop the willpower to resist temptations in their environment, such as the temptation to join their peers in drinking alcohol or smoking. Amuyunzu, 15, recounted: ―Most of my age-mates in the village are engaged in activities which are not good. Some are taking alcohol or smoking. But the quotes in the [junior youth] material have assisted me. Without these materials, I myself could have been engaged in such activities.‖

Sheila, 15, shared that participating in the program helped her change her behavior so as ―not to associate with bad company.‖ Not only did the relationship of junior youth with their peers change through participating in the program; their relationship with their parents was also influenced. Eric,15, commented, regarding himself and the other junior youth in his group, that, ―We are learning to be responsible and we show this by respecting our parents.‖ An animator confirmed Eric‘s observation when he remarked: ―The society is being transformed because the junior youth are gaining spiritual virtues. They have good relationships with their parents and talk politely.‖ The improvement the parents have seen in the junior youth has contributed to changing parents‘ attitudes towards the program; whereas at first parents were skeptical of the program, the transformation they saw in the junior youth ultimately won their support.

Along with the spiritual themes junior youth explored in the program, and the moral capabilities they developed, they mentioned that they also had the opportunity to enhance their power of expression. Junior youth and graduates of the program emphasized that the program helped improve their writing, speaking, and reading abilities, which in turn helped them in their schoolwork. Further, junior youth found ways of using their burgeoning capacities in service to others, by sharing prayers, spreading their knowledge, and contributing to the well-being of their community. Amuyunzu commented:

In the junior youth materials we have learned about how you can express yourself and how you can be of service to the community. We have improved in our language—especially composition and grammar. Because this program has helped me learn quotations, I can use them and speak well to others, overcome anger, and be kind to others.





hrdejovice_28th_feb_300
Deepening weekend of Junior youth
Hrdějovice, January 2006