Teens Mentor Fellow Teens, Who Mentor Kids in Turn in NC

“As a youth, it’s very impactful to be able to feel that you’re doing something good,” says Issa Masumbuko, a high school student in Durham, North Carolina. “It’s kind of like we’re being held back by society, but when we’re given the opportunity to contribute, we start to see our importance in the world.”

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Newcomer Uses Bahá’í-Inspired Approach to Empower Arizona Kids

Although Jaron Myers’s story unfolds in the desertscape of central Arizona, it actually starts 1,500 miles away in Minnesota. At 18, Myers was a college student and churchgoer there. But he wasn’t satisfied with his spiritual life, feeling a disconnect between the rituals of religion and the call he felt to serve society.

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Missouri Teen Recognized with Race Relations Award

A Baha’i teen who organized a school-based Social Justice Club has earned national recognition. Adib Rabbani won a 2021 Princeton Prize in Race Relations, an award from Princeton University “to support and encourage young high school students committed to fostering positive race relations within their communities,” according to their website. Rabbani was among 29 winners in 2021, taking home the award for the Kansas City Region.

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Small Maryland Town Shows a Big Appetite for Spiritual Activities

Growing up in a small town has its benefits: kids often enjoy a tight-knit community and relative safety. But they may not have as many opportunities to expand their horizons as their urban peers do.

Take Federalsburg, Maryland, a town of 2,700 nestled near the center of the Delmarva Peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. “Federalsburg is a town with a lot of children and not much to do,” says high school student Joseph Foster. “They get bored and turn to other stuff.”

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Thornton Chase, Steadfast Seeker

A formal portrait of Thornton Chase in his later years.
Thornton Chase (22 February 1847–30 September 1912). Photo courtesy of the US Bahá’í Archives.

A strong-willed leader and organizer, and a seeker forever pursuing the mysteries of divine love; an insurance salesman and an artist of page and stage who composed poetry and prose, sang and acted; a man who wrestled with a wariness of women and a unifier of contending personalities: this was Thornton Chase.

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Retrospective: A Blossoming of Initiatives in the Midwest

A small flower rises above a blanket of snow.

While winter and pandemic hibernation may seem far in the past, several initiatives originally undertaken during the previous winter months have blossomed. Though diverse in focus, these initiatives shared a common thread of building networks of people in the Midwestern states dedicated to sharing Baha’u’llah’s teachings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio. 

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Vibrant Marshallese Community Arises in Oklahoma

Twenty-five people pose for a group portrait in a community center.
Bahá’ís in Enid, Oklahoma, pose for a portrait taken before the pandemic.

In the early 2000s Enid, Oklahoma, had no Baha’i activities. Today, many of its more than 50 Baha’is are involved alongside friends in children’s classes, junior youth groups, study circles and devotional gatherings. 

What’s changed? The story starts with two Baha’i couples who each discovered the Faith on their own, along with the extended family of one of the couples.

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Task Force Encourages Communities to Make Accessibility a Priority

A man stands at a lectern. He is using American Sign Language.
Austin Vaday signs “nothing” in American Sign Language.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing people have a great deal to contribute to Baha’i activities, and with a few accommodations can more readily take part in them to everyone’s benefit.

This is a message championed by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Task Force for the Baha’i community. Appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, the national governing council, the task force has existed off and on since the 1980s. Today, it has four members—Naledi Raspberry, Tavoria Kellam, Jason Schwartz and Erin Salmon—who, with assistance from people like Austin Vaday, are working to educate Baha’i communities about how to improve accessibility.

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Professor prepares future educators by ‘entering the space with love’

A woman speaks to a class of young adults.
Ashley Patterson (right, standing) conducts an education class at Pennsylvania State University. Photo courtesy of Penn State News.

Recently in a class at Pennsylvania State University, the instructor, Ashley Patterson, asked the class of 25 students: How many had ever been into the house of someone of a different race? One raised a hand.

Then: How many ever had a meal with someone of a different race? Two.

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South Dakota Scholars Discuss Race Issues with Aid of Baha’i Principles

Webcam images of four women on a video call.
Study group participants in Brookings, South Dakota. Screenshot courtesy of Dianne Nagy.

Though it’s 200 miles from Minneapolis, the college town of Brookings, South Dakota, keenly felt the repercussions of George Floyd’s killing in May 2020, and the national turmoil surrounding race. 

Dianne Nagy, a Baha’i with considerable experience in local human rights activities, immediately got to work bringing Baha’i-inspired perspectives into the conversation. 

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