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Empowering Youth

Unitarian Universalism takes its responsibility to its young members very seriously. In some communities, youth are often not granted a great deal of respect, and are rarely given the tools and opportunities to make the excellent contributions of which they are capable. We try to right this imbalance by empowering our youth.

Unitarian Universalism’s approach to empowering our youth is based on respect. We value our youth’s ideas and experiences and encourage them to share their unique perspective in our congregations and communities. Along with our respect, we give our youth the information and tools they need to develop their own principles and ethics to make good decisions. Our youth curricula place particular emphasis on conflict resolution, understanding cultural differences, resisting peer pressure, and community service. We have also developed a nationally-acclaimed comprehensive sexuality education program called Our Whole Lives (OWL) to give our youth the honest, accurate information they need to make good choices about their relationships and sexual behavior. As Rev. Tony Larsen said, "We want our children to become responsible adults who make their own decisions about what to believe and how to live."

We also teach responsibility by giving responsibility. Unitarian Universalism has many ways for youth to fully participate in our faith. Youth serve on the denominational board of trustees, represent their congregations at our annual General Assembly, hold their own national caucus, and often provide meaningful leadership in their congregations.

Youth are also given responsibility for their own spirituality. Rather than telling them what to believe, our religious education and Coming of Age programs give our youth the information they need to discover and articulate their own beliefs, which might be quite different from the beliefs of their parents .

Because they are given respect, information, responsibility, and support, Unitarian Universalist youth are overwhelmingly mature, outspoken, active, and conscientious. They take what they have learned and advocate with the adults of our faith for youth rights and other important issues in their schools, local communities, and state and national legislature. Our youth are one the most important parts of our community.

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Monday, May 2, 2011.

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Youth from the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh.

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