Junior Youth Empowerment Program
of Denver

Giving Junior Youth Opportunities to lead, volunteer, study, and improve their communities.

Junior Youth Groups are started by trained and background-checked Animators (usually 15-25 years old) who act as a positive role models for the Junior Youth (11-14yrs old). Most groups meet weekly, after school and focus on engaging in a few activities each session. Most groups have an inter-faith prayer or meditation session, followed by a period of study that is combined with an art project. Then some groups will play sports or discuss the issues the group members face on a daily basis. Every few weeks, the group will spend the session engaging in a service activity where they improve their community. While the focus of each group may differ, most groups center around each of these core activities.

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Acts of Service

On a regular basis, Animators encourage the Junior Youth Group to take on a service activity to improve their own community. Some groups start out by cleaning up a park, others go as far as building homes or taking care of families. Acts of Service can be big or small, but they are a major component of the program because of the boost they give each member's self confidence and understanding of their larger community.



The U.S. education system believes that there is an epidemic of ADHD in today's society. We believe that kids and Junior Youth have an abundance of energy because they were designed to be out, engaging in the world and experiencing all it has to offer. Many Junior Youth love sports and we have found that it's a great way to help them learn to be great team members, build communication skills, and get out their energy.



Art is our best outlet for exercising our creative muscles. It shouldn't just be paint and paper, art can be engaging and we have found that many youth are filled with ideas and a desire to express themselves. We often combine our weekly study topic with one or more artistic projects to engage the group members and encourage them to think critically.


Spiritual Connection

Whether you are an Atheist, Christian, Baha'i, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddist, or a member of another belief, our culture and media are constantly encouraging us to adopt a materialistic lifestyle that often departs from our moral center. Junior Youth are in the process of forming their moral code and we believe that by studying the moral foundation that all major world religions share, the Junior Youth can make better decisions in all areas of their life.


Leadership and Team Skills Development

No one creates success on their own. In every area of our life, we create success by engaging with other people. When we learn how to work well with others, we form relationships. When we serve others and tell the truth, we build trust. Through Junior Youth Groups, many members learn how to work with others constructively, serve them, and even learn how to lead. These are skills they can use for a lifetime.



Many Junior Youth and Animators are already very engaged in a variety of activities. This can often take away time from studying for their classes. Animators respect this and many groups make time to allow the group members to get assistance with their homework and assignments. Often, the Animators can provide a good perspective because they are or were recently students themselves and have the material fresh in their minds.

"We engage in Acts of Service to our community. It gives us the chance to make a difference in the world and we can see the effects when our neighbors stop looking at us with an annoyed look, like we're drug dealers, and start seeing that we as teenagers have something postive to offer to the world. It gives people hope."

- Rex Barkdoll, former Junior Youth, now Animator

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Connection with Parents

Lastly, we look forward to building relationships with each Junior Youth's parents and guardians. We want you to know how your Junior Youth is doing each week and we want to make sure that we have some idea about their home life so that we understand where they're coming from. Most Animators aren't parents, so we can't imagine the struggles you face, but we do believe, just like you, that your Junior Youth is special. We see that there is a desire within them that is waiting to break out and make a positive change in the world. We'd like to work with you to give them the best tool set for making that happen.

Learn more about becoming an Animator

"I love playing sports and getting to do art. They keep taking things away from us in school and I get frustrated because I'm stuck in my desk all day. Plus [my Animator] is really cool. Some of my old friends started doing drugs and she talked with me about what that choice might look like for them in a few years because that's what some of her friends did. I don't think my parents would have talked with me about it the same way and helped me understand why she made the choice to stay away from drugs without judging me."

- Josh, Junior Youth

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