Guelph Bahai Faith Assembly, Junior Youth Group

It’s a blustery March afternoon at a west-end park. Four youngsters and two adults meet near the playground equipment to discuss their next community service project. Under the auspices of the Guelph Bahai Faith Assembly, this Junior Youth Group has undertaken several fundraisers and drives over the past year — all to support service organizations in Guelph, all planned and executed by the young people themselves. But it is their cookie sale, held in November, that has been the most significant success.

Everyone pitched in, whipping up more than 500 sugar cookies, decorating them artfully, and putting out flyers in the neighbourhood to advertise the sale. The resulting $250 proceeds were donated to Guelph General Hospital to help with our Together We Care campaign!

The four youngsters in attendance today are all between 11 and 14 years of age – Logan, Yosan, Luna, and Grayson. They’re eager to share their thoughts on the reasons their donation to the hospital is essential. They want their work to help save people and understand that even small contributions are valued. They hope the dollars will go toward the purchase of medical equipment available to everyone. As Logan puts it, “Helping people is important.”

Elisa Cooper, a member of the Assembly, volunteers as the Junior Youth group “animator” along with her husband, Rohan Hakimi, helping to focus the young people on community service and facilitating their involvement in various activities. She says that pre-teens and young teenagers are at an impressionable age when literacy, skills development and self-empowerment are keys to developing purposeful and rewarding lives. Understanding the value of community service can be a big part of that growth.

Because of COVID, mid-March was the first time that the group had met in person since December. All of the kids have ideas for their next project. Tree planting, graffiti clean-up, after-school programs for younger kids are all possibilities. Their boundless energy and generous spirit are truly infectious!

Grayson’s mom, Barbara, stops by and echoes her son’s enthusiasm for the fundraiser. “This type of project gives him an opportunity to be involved, to make friends, and to have a sense of accomplishment. I think it’s important for him to know that it’s not just the large corporations that can make a difference with their donations; ordinary people and ‘mom-and-pop’ operations have a role to play too, to give back to all of Guelph.”

Thank you, Junior Youth Group! We’ll be looking forward to your next projects.