Our Whole Lives (OWL) Ministry
A key part of each orientation for our OWL program is asking folks to think about the sexuality education they received as a child or youth. Think about it for a minute, what were you taught? Was it through school? Did your parents talk to you about it? Did you learn from your peers? What books did you read? What feelings are associated with your own sexuality education? As a facilitator for these orientations, I can tell you that shame comes up a lot. I am here to tell you, there is no shame in our sex ed game.
“Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.”
The Our Whole Lives program is a comprehensive sexuality education program with levels of curricula ranging from kindergarten to adulthood. This program is immensely valuable for children and youth in particular. We’re teaching them about their bodies and how they are in control of their own bodies. We’re teaching them about families and about how so many families might look different than their own. We’re teaching them about healthy friendships and how to have good, respectful relationships with others.
When Is OWL Offered?
We offer OWL for 7th-8th grades every year. This class is 26 sessions and is one of the most important learning opportunities we offer. It is a formative experience for our youth and will stay with them as they navigate their way into adolescence and beyond. Sometimes the kids are not super thrilled about it. But they come every week and they learn. They learn how to make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. The class provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. This is truly a comprehensive learning experience.
We are dedicated to offering as many OWL classes as we can here at UUCA. We rotate offering K-1st OWL and 4th-5th OWL in the spring and plan to offer 10th-12th OWL every other year beginning in 2020. We also hope to offer some Adult OWL classes in the near future.
While OWL is one of our most popular programs, it is also one of the most resource consuming classes. Our teachers go to special training and they commit to teaching OWL at least 3 times in the 5 years after they get trained. While the training is pretty intense and takes a whole weekend, it is so very rewarding. We are always looking to add more trained OWL facilitators to our roster. If you want to get trained, or find out more information, email Kim Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.