CYRE newsletter

UUCPA RE newsletter: January, 2013

January, 2013, news for Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) at UUCPA


1. January calendar
  1a. Senior High and Coming of Age calendar
2. From your Associate Minister of Religious Education
3. OWL for gr. K-1 and 4-6 begins
4. Yellow class (gr. K-1) get-together

1. January calendar
Sun., Jan. 6, 9:30-11:30 a.m.: First session of OWL for gr. K-1 & 4-6
  Regular Sunday school for all classes will also run.
Sun., Jan. 13, 10:30 a.m.: Make snowflakes in the Fireside Room
  11:00 a.m.: Parent Journey
Sat., Jan. 19, 4:30 p.m.: Yellow class get-together (see below)
Sun., Jan. 27, 10:30 a.m.: Fourth Sunday brunch
  11:00 a.m.: Teacher workshop with Dan in Room B

1a. Senior High Youth Group (SHYG) and Coming of Age (CoA) calendar:
Sun., Jan. 6: No meetings
Sun., Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m.: SHYG
Sat., Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m.: CoA overnight begins, through 8 a.m. Sunday
Sun., Jan. 20, 6:30 p.m.: No CoA due to overnight the night before
Sun., Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m.: SHYG

2. From your Associate Minister of Religious Education

I’d like to tell you about my new year’s resolution, but first I have to go back in time.

Back in 1997, a group of researchers the Search Institute investigated teenagers who were part of a faith community. They found a meaningful correlation between participation in a faith community, and lower rates of risky behaviors (including drug use, unprotected sex, etc.). I remember reading this research not long after it first came out, and it confirmed for me what I had already seen — congregations are good for teenagers.

In a dramatic example of how this can play out in one individual’s life, I think of a 13 year old who began attending the suburban congregation I was then serving. We soon suspected this young person was using illegal drugs (a not uncommon problem in affluent suburban communities). Then this young person came out as gay both to their OWL class, and to their parents. I was in close communication with the parents, and I learned from them that their 13 year old was also engaging in cutting — not actual suicide attempts, but serious nevertheless. This was obviously a teenager facing some big challenges! [I’ve changed some details of this story to maintain confidentiality.]

I’m glad to say everything turned out well. The parents were extremely good at addressing various issues — and the congregation was also extremely important in helping this young person turn away from risky behaviors. One thing the congregation did best was to accept this young person’s sexual orientation as normal and natural — something that wasn’t happening at the supposedly liberal schools in that town. Another thing the congregation did was to provide a sense of meaning, and a firm set of values, both of which complemented what the parents were providing. A couple of years later, the parents told me they credited the congregation with helping to save this teenager’s life.

A lot has happened since 1997. That young person has become an amazing adult who is still affiliated with that Unitarian Universalist congregation. And the Search Institute developed their research into the “developmental assets” concept, which has now been adopted by Santa Clara County to support and nurture teenagers (see One of the developmental assets that leads to healthy teenagers is, of course, participation in a faith community.

Now I’ll tell you my new year’s resolution:

With your help, I resolve to maintain and strengthen youth programming in our congregation. I’ve already seen strong youth programming save teen lives, so that’s an easy resolution for me to make. And if you continue to support our children and youth religious education (CYRE) programs, and make it a priority to keep your kids at UUCPA through their teen years, together we will help more teenagers to stay healthy.

Best wishes for the new year for you and your family,
Rev. Dan Harper

3. Our Whole Lives (OWL) for K-1 and 4-6th Grades begins

A reminder — If your child is participating in the OWL program, the first OWL class includes parents and lasts for two hours beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 6.

After the first class, OWL classes are held from 11am – 12pm on Sunday mornings., and will continue through March 10th. Questions? Contact Dan Harper or Maribea Berry.

4. Yellow class get-together

As we prepare to get back into the saddle of ordinary life, here’s something to look forward to: meeting up with your fellow “Yellows” at UUCPA for a relaxed family dinner. No agenda — just a social time together. And you don’t have to make dinner!

When: Sat, Jan. 19th from 4:30-6:30
Where: Main Hall at UUCPA
What: Pizza dinner and a crafty dessert (frost your own cookie!)
Suggested donation to defray cost of food: $4.00/person (max. $10 per family)

Please contact Brooke Bishara (Grace’s mom) to let her know if your family can make it.