Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Sexuality Education for Youth in Grades 7-9 (offered every other year)
Our Whole Lives is based on the philosophy of comprehensive sexuality education, which 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, comprehensive sexuality education provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, social, and political aspects of sexuality as well.
Comprehensive sexuality education has been shown to be effective. A review commissioned by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, released on October 22, 1997, concluded that quality education about sexuality and/or HIV helps to delay first intercourse and protect sexually active youth from STDs, including HIV, and from pregnancy. The review also concluded that responsible and safe behavior can be learned, that sexuality education is best started before the onset of sexual activity, and that sexuality education does not encourage increased sexual activity.
Our Whole Lives offers:
- Up-to-date information and candid 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 identity and sexuality
- Acceptance of diversity
- Encouragement to act for justice
- Trained leaders
- Required parent orientation programs that engage parents in the sexuality education of their children
- UU materials that incorporate worship and religious values
Youth who sign up for this program must agree to attend all sessions. Our Whole Lives depends on the consistency of youth attendance because so much of the program is based on the trust that grows with improved communication skills. Irregular attendance erodes trust and the formation of community that enables youth to get the most out of the program.
A parent class is held concurrently with the youth class. Parents go over the same material their child is learning, look at their own assumptions and fill in gaps in their own knowledge. The class also serves as a support group where parents can talk openly about parenting struggles, challenges and successes.
Depending on interest and volunteer availability, OWL is sometimes also held for other age groups.
If you would like additional information, please contact:
Interim Director of Religious Education
408-292-3858 ext. 25