17th of Oulu’s ‘100 Acts’: Heinäpää’s Junior Youth Group
The latest of Oulu's ‘100 Acts’ is all about a group of youngsters aged 11-14 living in the Heinäpää district of Oulu. Assisted by an older youth, they set up a Junior Youth Group to build a positive atmosphere in their local community - starting from their own back yard and expanding to the entire Heinäpää district. So far, this energetic group has arranged various events including a clubroom story evening for local children, and a Christmas party programme, devised with the Residents Committee, on the theme of kindness and good relations, and has handed out muffins plus worthy quotations to immediate neighbours. The group members have also interviewed people about what makes a good neighbourhood and are constantly coming up with new projects.
“We’re currently planning a photography project focusing on tolerance. We’ll probably exhibit the results in Villa Victor for next year’s anti-racism week. In the summer we also hope to organise some kind of joint activity for the neighbourhood,” says the group’s leader, Linda Izadi.
The group is part of an international programme of spiritual empowerment for young teens and preteens, which involves large numbers of children doing similar work to improve their communities around the globe. Behind this programme is the international Bahá’í community, but the religious background of group members is not important, nor does the programme teach religion. Once youngsters in the programme reach the age of 15, they can set up a group of their own.
The activities of the Junior Youth Group are an example to others, about the small and practical steps that ordinary people - even young people - can take in their communities.
“It’s also a model that demonstrates that young people do not always have to be a bunch of ‘troublemakers’!” Oulu, like other cities, is made up of neighbourhoods, and if each one had these kinds of activities bringing people closer together, imagine what it would do for the atmosphere of the whole city! The youngsters believe it could greatly reduce bullying at school, for instance – especially, says Linda, if all the children knew each other as well as they do in Heinäpää.
Linda Izadi / 040 5871442 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the activities: