Our Whole Lives
Our Whole Lives, or OWL, is an age appropriate sexuality educational material. It consists of six series, each designed for a specific age group, K–1, 4–6, 7–9, 10–12, young adults (18- to 35-year-olds), and one for adults.
Our Whole Lives is built upon four core values:
- Self Worth
- Sexual Health
- Justice and Inclusivity.
Participants are encouraged to use these values in decision-making concerning their own sexuality and relationships. Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to explore and learn to articulate their own values.
The Our Whole Lives program operates under the idea that well informed youth and young adults make better, healthier decisions about sexuality than those without complete information. OWL strives to be unbiased and teaches about heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, and transgender sexual health. In addition to information on sex, OWL is intended to help children, youth, and adults to be emotionally healthy and responsible in terms of their sexuality.
Our Whole Lives classes are led by teams of facilitators recruited from within their congregations. Before leading OWL, facilitators must complete a training program led by certified trainers of trainers. Training is intensive and focused on building the facilitation skills demanded by OWL. In addition to exploring the core values and pedagogical theory underlying OWL, trainings include opportunities to peer-facilitate a session, giving future leaders hands-on experience. At the end of the training (which is approximately 20 hours of training over three days), facilitators must be certified by their trainers before leading Our Whole Lives in their congregations.
Our Whole Lives is published by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries. Publication was the result of seven years of collaborative effort by the two faiths to prepare material which addresses sexuality throughout the lifespan in age appropriate ways.
Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont aims at offering OWL on a regular basis for different age groups, in cooperation with neighboring congregations.
Further information about Our Whole Lives can be found on UCC’s website: http://www.ucc.org/justice_sexuality-education_our-whole-lives