Lifestyle

Unitarian Universalists to offer sexuality education program

Gene Berg and Ruth Richards will lead a program about sex, sexuality and emotions for burgeoning teenagers at the Unitarian Congregation in Freeland.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Gene Berg and Ruth Richards will lead a program about sex, sexuality and emotions for burgeoning teenagers at the Unitarian Congregation in Freeland.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeland will host a nine-month sexuality education program for seventh, eighth and ninth-grade students starting next month.

The program, entitled Our Whole Lives (OWL), is non-religious and all-inclusive, according to director Ginger White. Learning objectives include an understanding of justice, feelings, sex and sexuality as well as respect for oneself and others.

“It is a very comprehensive and progressive class in human sexuality,” said program instructor Gene Berg, whose two sons took part in the program in the early 1990s.

“It was just great for them. They were a little indifferent about going to Sunday School but once they got into this they bonded with their peers and it was like magic to them, just wonderful,” said Berg.

According to White, a major component of the course is learning to communicate about sexuality in a healthy and respectful manner.

Ruth Richards, program instructor, noted that there will be a mixture of talks and activities.

“It offers the kids opportunities to do a lot of exploration on their own terms, at their own pace. There is huge emphasis on acceptance,” Richards said. “If someone is afraid to say something, they are not going to be forced to. On the other hand if they really want to say something, it is invited.”

Berg and Richards emphasized that, although there is a basic structure to the class, the students lead discussions with guidance from the instructors.

“It’s so much beyond sex,” White said. “It’s about helping them develop their [religion-neutral] values and their principles and their ideas about what sexuality is and what feels right to them and what doesn’t so that they can make good choices.”

The class consists of approximately 27 90-minute sessions, most of which take place on alternating Sunday mornings and evenings along with three overnight stays. The cost is $75 and scholarships are available. Parents may attend one of two orientation meetings on Sept. 12 or 13. The program will begin on Oct. 13.

For more information, contact program coordinator Ginger White at re_dir@uucwi.org.

 

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