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EventsMay 12, 2022

Baha’i Club to Host Student Mentor Training Sessions

Written By: Samantha Contreras

The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith’s registered student organization, The Baha’i Club, will host two training sessions for student mentors interested in volunteering with the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP) from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 14, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. 

“We live at a time when so many negative forces affect the way junior youth think and behave. Mentors help them combat these forces,” said Dr. Mary Sobhani, department head of World Languages at UAFS and the Baha’i Club advisor.  

Any UAFS student age 17 through 25 interested in serving as a mentor for junior youth may join the Baha’i Club’s training sessions. 

“This program is based on Baha’i concepts. Its purpose fits beautifully with the Baha’i Club motto, ‘The Betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and good deeds, commendable and seemly conduct,’” said Diem Nguyen, Baha’i Club president, and a trained mentor.

According to JYSEP, the program’s purpose is to empower moral leaders who can take an active role in developing their communities with a focus on junior youth.

The Baha’i Club plans to work weekly with groups of young people between the ages of 12 and 15 to build friendships, carry out a series of service projects, engage in cultural activities and special events, and study materials to enhance their power of expression. 

The Baha’i Club will break down the training process into two parts. “Mentors learn how to conduct the first few meetings and converse with parents about the nature of the program and the progress of their daughters and sons,” said Sandy Huening, trained facilitator for JYSEP in Fort Smith.

“College-age youth tend to make excellent mentors since they find it easy to treat junior youth as equals, not as children, encouraging them to ask questions, raise doubts, and engage in the investigation of reality,” Nguyen said.

The program will begin this summer, and once trained, each mentor will form their junior youth group from the Fort Smith community. 

“Through these projects, junior youth will learn to think about the community and its needs, and consult and collaborate among themselves and with others in the community,” said Dr. Sobhani.

For more information, please contact Dr. Mary Sobhani at Mary.Sobhani@uafs.edu.