Our Whole Lives: Middle School Sexuality Education
Coming in January!
TJUC offers Our Whole Lives comprehensive sexuality education to guide middle school youth in learning about the life principles, and skills they need to express their sexuality in life-enhancing ways.
- It puts sexuality into the context of values and personal responsibility, helping them manage social pressure and serve as advocates for equality.
- It provides an opportunity to bring values and integrity to the real-life issues they are experiencing or will experience.
- It guides and supports youth as they address their attitudes and values, their feelings about themselves and their sexuality, and their attitudes toward others’ sexuality.
The program, which requires a family commitment to participate as fully as possible, is offered cooperatively with First Unitarian Church within the safe and inclusive environment of our church communities. OWL models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. Participants in grades 7-9 are guided by trained facilitators through an engaging curriculum that addresses topics typically excluded from other sexuality education and health classes.
Parents of youth in grades 7-9, including mature youth in grade 6, are encouraged to enroll eligible youth in this nationally recognized sexuality education program. Please pre-register your youth via email to DLRE Barb at email@example.com and mark your calendar for the required parent orientation to the program to be held at TJUC on January 15 from 1:30-3:00 PM. More information will be available soon.
Scroll down to read more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) Lifespan Sexuality Education
Coming of Age Programs Include Rewards for All
Coming of Age (COA) ceremonies, marking the transition from childhood to young adult, are as old as history. They have included ritual abductions, vision quests, and bar and bat mitzvahs, all to help youth learn about themselves and prepare for adulthood.
TJUC, like many Unitarian Universalist congregations, honors this important transition with a year-long coming of age program, which generally include four parts: pairing youth with adult mentors; discussions and retreats that emphasize self-awareness and confidence-building; service to the church and community; and a culminating affirmation ceremony. The mentoring relationships often result in enduring bonds between COA candidates and their adult mentors.
AT TJUC, the Coming of Age program is an optional enrichment experience, which is generally offered to youth who are in 8th and 9th grades. Older youth who have not yet gone through the program are welcome to do so.
COA has the goal of supporting youth as they deal with important questions about self and belief. One of the most important achievements of COA candidates is the development and presentation of individual statements of belief. This generally is an important part of the culminating COA Celebration, which is often held during a Sunday Service.
For more information about TJUC’s Coming of Age Program, please contact our DLRE, Barb Friedland.
Our Whole Lives Lifespan Lifespan Sexuality Education Curricula
Our Whole Lives (OWL) helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, OWL not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
OWL uses approaches that work. The curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (PDF) produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
OWL covers topics and skills that both parents and students want to have available but schools are less likely to cover. The Kaiser Family Foundation has an interesting report on this subject called “Sex Education in America: A View from Inside the Nation’s Classrooms.” New national surveys are challenging the convention that Americans are reluctant to have sexual health issues taught in school. The surveys show that most parents, along with educators and students themselves, would expand sex education courses and curriculum.
OWL facilitators, who serve as leaders for the program, go through a 15- hour training for each program level and are required to pass a national level background screening to ensure a safe environment for our youth.
For more information about the TJUC OWL program, please contact our DLRE, Barb Friedland.
Our Whole Lives Values
- Self Worth
- Sexual Health
- Justice and Inclusivity
Our Whole Lives Offers
- Up-to-date information and honest, age-appropriate answers to all participants’ questions
- Activities to help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
- Effective group-building to create a safe and supportive peer group
- Education about consent, sexual abuse, exploitation, harassment, and social media safety.
- Opportunities to critique media messages about gender and sexuality
- Acceptance of diversity
- Encouragement to act for justice
- Parent orientation programs that affirm parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children
- Sexuality and Our Faith, an optional faith based component