The UUA and UCC Release Updated Sexuality Education Program for Youth
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Boston, MA – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) recently released the second edition of the sexuality education program Our Whole Lives for grades 7 to 9.
The second edition introduces new content, activities, perspectives, language, and resources for today’s young teens. New topics in this edition include:
- Bullying and bystander responsibilities
- Sexuality, social media, and the Internet
- Body image
- Consent education
- Communicating with a sexual partner
In addition, it includes a section on “Taking a Special Education Approach to Sexuality Education” to help facilitators include youth with autism spectrum disorders, attention disorders, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities in their programs.
“I have heard from many ministers, religious education professionals, and parents who are grateful that this updated edition of Our Whole Lives tackles so many of the pervasive issues of our time like bullying and social media,” said Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA. “I am proud that our denominations remain at the forefront of addressing these issues with our youth.”
Our Whole Lives 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. In addition to the curriculum for grades 7 to 9, it is available for grades K to 1, grades 4 to 6, grades 10 to 12, young adults (ages 18 to 35), and adults.
Unlike many other sexuality curricula currently available, Our Whole Lives is comprehensive and progressive. The underlying values of the program reflect the justice-oriented traditions of both the UUA and the UCC denominations while remaining free of specific religious doctrine or reference.
“Our Whole Lives continues to be a significant educational program that is solidly grounded in our faith,” said Rev. Linda Jaramillo, the UCC’s executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries. “We bring UCC core values of extravagant welcome, continuing testament, and changing lives to our historic partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association to provide this important and relevant resource to our children, youth, and their families.”
The curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It exceeds the National Sexuality Education Standards for Core Content and Skills, K-12.
Our Whole Lives was first released in 1998. It is estimated that in the past 15 years, more than 50,000 children, young adults, and adults have participated in at least one level of the Our Whole Lives program.
“I love the second edition of Our Whole Lives, Grades 7 to 9! It is beautifully crafted—full of new and updated lesson plans. Yet, like the original, this edition promotes a positive, normalizing, healthy view of sexuality. Students are encouraged to think critically and empowered to recognize their own agency. This is how sexuality education should be taught—honest, thought-provoking and joyful. I wish my son had been treated to Our Whole Lives when he was in middle school.” –Debra Hauser, MPH, president of Advocates for Youth
“For generations, sexuality educators nationwide have turned to Our Whole Lives as a standard of pedagogical excellence. The release of a second edition of the Our Whole Lives Grades 7-9 curriculum is jubilant news to teachers and trainers who value the depth of thought that goes into memorable, meaningful lesson plans.” –Bill Taverner, MA, CSE, executive director of The Center for Sex Education
Previous coverage of Our Whole Lives includes:
- O, the Oprah Magazine, "Adventures in Adult Sex Education"
- Boston Globe, "The Secret Life of Boys"
- The Christian Century, "Lessons for 'Our Whole Lives'"
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance, and social justice.
The United Church of Christ, headquartered in Cleveland for almost 25 years, is a mainline Protestant denomination with more than 1 million members and nearly 5,200 congregations nationwide. The UCC and its members are tireless advocates for social issues such as LGBT rights, marriage equality, immigration reform, environmental protection and economic justice.