OUR WHOLE LIVES (OWL)
Sexuality Education for all ages!
Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles the stereotypes and assumptions so commonplace in today’s society, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in UUA and UCC faith communities.
The OWL curriculum offers programs for all ages. Here are the offerings UUCGL is exploring for the 2023-24 program year:
What’s Religious about Sexuality Education? READ MORE HERE
7th-8th Grade OWL
For many years, our congregation has offered a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum called Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) for either 7th-8th graders, or 8th-9th graders. This curriculum helps young people of all sexual orientations and identities (bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, cisgender, and heterosexual) develop the skills and knowledge they need to have safe, respectful, and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives. This O.W.L. program runs biannually and we will be offering it together with the First Church in Salem beginning in October 2023 for 7th-8th graders.
For the first time, this program will be open to other like-minded churches in the region, and to the larger community! Please complete this form if you are a parent of an upcoming 7th or 8th grader who might like to join this program, or a religious educator from one of our neighboring churches, and we will arrange a meeting to determine if the program will be a good fit for you. A quick overview of the workshops covered can be found here. The class will meet on Sunday evenings from October 2023 - May 2024. A parent’s group is being planned to support parents and caregivers during class time, as well (see below).
• 20 classes, starting October 1, 2023 and running through May 2024
• Classes run every Sunday, 6:30-8:30pm (except holidays and first Sundays of school vacation weeks)
• Registration fee for non-church members is $200 ($10 per class; sliding scale)
• Tentative schedule:
Oct 1 - Parent Orientation and Youth Gathering
Oct 15 - First Class
April 21 - Last Class (5/5 optional make-up class for cancellations)
May 19th - Graduation Ceremony
Parents and Caregivers As Sexuality Educators:
Small Group Ministry
At UUCGL, we take seriously the idea that parents and caregivers are the primary sexuality educators of their children, and we want to offer support, perhaps even while your child is enrolled in an OWL class! This small group ministry is being planned to occur during the OWL class for 7th-8th graders, although the sessions are designed to meet the needs of adults raising children of a wide age range, from elementary through high school. Adults will explore their roles as the most important sexuality educators their children will have. Like OWL workshops, these sessions build comfort in talking about sexuality-related topics and offer skill-building activities. The sessions address topics also provided in OWL sexuality education for youth ages 12-14 (grades 7–9), but these sessions focus on these participants’ needs as parents and caregivers. Participants are invited to engage deeply with their hopes and fears, their values and practices. Where the OWL junior high program delivers a great deal of important knowledge, this program emphasizes the adult’s ongoing adult responsibility to share accurate, current information, as needed, with their child or youth. Want to see the curriculum? It is available for free here. To express interest, click here.
• 8-12 sessions during the '23-'24 school year
• Meeting on select Sundays, 6:30-8:30
• Open to all parents/guardians at no cost
Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Grades K-3
OWL can help you educate your child about bodies, gender, boundaries, families, conception, birth, and babies. You will be actively involved as your child learns through songs, stories, activities and at-home projects that promote family dialogue. This class can be offered to any 2 consecutive grades between K-3 depending on interest. To express interest, please fill out this form.
8 sessions would run on select Sundays, 6:30-8:30pm, with some parent/guardian assistance required.
Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Grades 4-6
OWL helps children learn about and discuss the physical, emotional changes, and social changes of puberty. Parents and caregivers can be actively involved in the exploration of growing older, values, communication and decision making. This class can be offered to either grades 4-5 or grades 5-6 depending on interest. To express interest, please fill out this form. For more information, click here.
8-10 sessions would run on select Sundays, 6:30-8:30pm, with some parent/guardian assistance required.
Older Adult OWL (50+)
This program year, we would also like to offer an OWL Sexuality Education class for adults aged 50+, too! This program is comprehensive and progressive, addressing sexuality with candor, sensitivity, and respect for older adults’ wisdom and life experience. Workshops include sexuality and values, attitudes about aging, family matters, and body image. To learn more and to express interest, please fill out this form.
What’s Religious about Sexuality Education? In liberal religious sexuality education, we seek to provide roots and wings for program participants. The roots are our Unitarian Universalist religious traditions and values, which accept participants and value them for who they are so they feel good about themselves and their sexuality. The wings are the freedom they have to make meaning of their own lives; the opportunity to clarify their own values and apply them to their own experiences; and the strength to develop into their own true, best selves. The Our Whole Lives curricula help transform a cultural climate of fear and confusion into a new reality of lives lived congruent with the values of the inherent worth and dignity of each and every person. For more about why and how sexuality education belongs in a faith community, click here.