OWL (Our Whole Lives) is a course designed to address a wide range of topics and issues associated with sexuality and sexual expression. The interactive course covers important topics such as communication in a relationship, how to break up, staying safe, gender identity, sexual orientation, body image, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and tough issues such as abortion and rape.
The course is based on research and medicine rather than philosophy. This is not an abstinence-based course. While we believe abstinence is a great choice for teenagers, research tells us that 95% will choose to have sex. This course will give youth the skills to determine and set healthy boundaries, to make choices that are healthy for them, to talk about issues around sexuality, and to avoid pregnancy or disease should they choose to engage in sexual behavior.
OWL is a practical learning course. Rather than lecture, youth engage in a variety of activities that allow them to have the experience of making positive choices. Before leaving the course, students will learn how to properly put a condom on a model while blindfolded. They’ll learn important information about other forms of protection, and they’ll have many opportunities to role-play effective communication and boundary setting.
OWL is typically taught between January and April. High school OWL is offered to 9th-12th grade students in even-numbered years. Junior high school OWL, for students in 7th-9th grades, is taught in odd-numbered years. The junior high school class will be offered in 2017, and the high class will be offered in 2018.
Generally class sizes are 12-20 students. First priority for enrollment is given to children of members and friends of the UU churches in Columbia and Jefferson City. We round out our classes with youth from United Church of Christ and then other community members when space permits.
The OWL base curriculum was co-written by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ in the late 1990s. Our teaching team continually updates the curriculum with current materials and topics relevant to our youth. We use popular media, current research, and news articles. Information about contraception and safe sex is updated with assistance from the Boone County Health Department.
You can view OWL curriculum details on the UUA website.
- Junior High Teachers: Jeremy Duke, Rosie Anderson-Harper, and Mary Beth Schillinger
- High School Teachers: Larry Lile, Christy Hutton and Kristen Richter