Beginning January 14th, 2018 the Religious Education Program of Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church will be offering Our Whole Lives (OWL) to the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders of our church community. We will be offering this on Sundays during religious education and worship time, from 9:30AM-12:30PM, so that a separate trip to the church is not required. OWL is a sexuality education curriculum that has been highly recommended by Unitarian Universalist churches throughout the United States. It has been reported by NPR as “the best curriculum of its kind”.
Teachers must go through an intensive certification process. We are fortunate to have several church members as our OWL instructors for this session. They have all completed the training and have committed their time and effort to our youth through this excellent program.
Our Whole Lives 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, Our Whole Lives provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and helps them understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
Our Whole Lives uses approaches that work. The curriculum is based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education 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 U.S. (SIECUS).
Our Whole Lives covers topics and skills that both parents and students want to have available but schools are less likely to cover. The Our Whole Lives Values:
Justice and Inclusivity
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 sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment
Opportunities to critique media messages about gender and sexuality
Acceptance of diversity
Encouragement to act for justice
Parent orientation program that affirm parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children
Although developed by two religious organizations, Our Whole Lives contains no religious references or doctrine. However, the values promoted in the program are consistent with our Unitarian Universalist faith.