Ballarat’s first Baha’i community youth conference has been deemed a success, with a team of youths now ready to take to the city’s streets with an abundance of knowledge.
The two-day event, which aimed to inspire young people to make positive changes to the community, had more than 15 youths take the time out to contribute their ideas and listen to others.
Conference facilitators Sam Sadeghi, 24, and Sana Jamali, 22, guided discussions between the youths.
Mr Sadeghi said a large focus of the discussions were on impressionable youths between the ages of 11-15 who were often heavily impacted by “negative social forces” such as the media and bullying in schools.
He said the group worked to identify the youths needs and how they could be meet through different community programs.
“Instead of telling them what to do, they learn how to tackle it,” he said.
Those who attended the weekend’s conference ranged in ages between 13-30 from different religions and cultural and educational backgrounds.
Mr Jamali said each of the conference members attended because they wanted to develop skills and contribute to community development concepts.
“We cover different aspects of the community and discuss the reality of youth in society and their roles,” he said.
“They’re at a prime peak of life, who have an ability to contribute in deeds rather than only words.
“We want more people thinking about society and less about themselves.”
He said while the focus was not on religion, it did take on a number of Baha’i principals and offer them as tools for youths.
“We’re not doing it for something, in return we grow and learn new things,” he said.
Many of the weekend’s participants had never met before, but Mr Sadeghi said part of the conference was to make new friends and help spread the word about community service.
He said similar conferences in other towns had begun in similar ways and grown to include hundreds of youths.