Unfortunately, at the recommendation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), we will not offer any of our OWL (Our Whole Lives sexuality education) classes for our children and youth as originally scheduled for winter of 2021. However, we do have alternatives: an online class for parents and caregivers and online resources for those unable to commit to a class.
Melanie Davis, Our Whole Lives Program Manager for the UUA, strongly recommends that OWL programming be postponed until it can be done in person. She advises: “Please do not offer OWL online. It wasn’t created for or tested for efficacy online. Its in-person interactions and experiential learning cannot be replicated on an online platform. More importantly, potential for harm exists online.”
This is particularly concerning for many of you as we were scheduled to hold all four OWL classes in 2021: 1st-2nd, 5th-6th, 8th, and 10th-12th. While in-person classes are definitely much more effective, we invite parents to sign up for a virtual class experience in which they will explore their role as the primary sexuality educators of their elementary through teenage children. The 90-minute sessions use a small group ministry format to engage adults in topics including Gender Identity, Relationships, Social Media, and Consent. The information and attitudes that adults share with their children—intentionally or by default—carry extraordinary power. It is a power that many adults struggle to wield effectively and confidently. Often, their own experiences, perspectives, and worries get in the way. These sessions invite parents and caregivers to find support and courage with one another. The class will use the UUA Parents and Caregivers As Sexuality Educators curriculum. Three trained OWL facilitators have enthusiastically agreed to lead the class: Melissa Jackson, Shannon Maples, and Kurt Merkle. The class will begin in January and run twice a month for five months. Sessions are 1.5 hours. Times and days TBD.
If interested in learning more, please join Kathleen Carpenter, CYRE Program Director, on Sunday, Nov 22 at 12:30pm for a brief Zoom meeting. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87420358828
If unable to attend but interested in the class, email her at Kathleen@uuccharlotte.org. If there is no interest, the class will not be held.
And because we realize some of you can’t commit to a class of any length at this time, we offer these resources, both for your children and for you: Resources: When OWL Programs Are On Hold.