Youth & Family

   

Mission

As an active part of Unity of Oak Park, our mission is to provide a safe, judgment free, supportive, encouraging, and nurturing environment for our children, teens, and generation Z, to fully experience the recognition and acceptance of their oneness with God, each other, and the fullness of life.  To provide Spirit-driven guidance in helping them realize and embrace the Christ within.

Youth Ministry Program Overview

Curriculum Focus by Age Group

Our curriculum is created through a combination of weekly adults messages and the Living Curriculum, as described and shared by Unity Worldwide Ministries Youth and Family Services.  Bible stories and/or scriptures,” Unity acceptable books for children and teens, Unity’s Basic Principles, and unconditional love, along with lesson appropriate and applicable activities are used to assist the children and teens understand Truth Principles and the laws of God (good).

Infants to age 5 (NURSERY):  Focuses on introducing the children to the idea of God and the love of God that is within all around them.  Through age appropriate toys, stories, and genuine acceptance of each child, the idea of the ever-present Spirit of God is imparted to the children.

Kindergarden to 5th Grade:  Focuses on introduction of the Five Basic Unity Principles, understanding of the Bible, and the relationship of Unity Principles to various Bible stories, and the Commandments and the metaphysical interpretation of the Bible stories.  Prayer and meditation are introduced, practiced, and encouraged to help the children develop and maintain a higher prayer consciousness, in the silence with the inner Christ.

Uniteens (6, 7, 8th Grade):  Focuses on a deeper understanding of metaphysics, Bible interpretation, and further encouragement of a daily prayer and meditation practice.  Bible discussion include practical application of the Truth shared in each stories, as it applies in our present-day life experiences.  More in-depth teaching of the Twelve “innate” Powers, as described by Charles Fillmore, and how full expression of these powers to live an authentic spiritual life of “all good,” regardless of any outer appearances. This group is encouraged to further expand spiritually by attending Uniteen Retreats and developing bonds with other like-minded teens.

Y.O.U. (High School):  Focuses on a deeper understanding and practical application of Truth principles and the Laws of Life and Living in making the best possible decision for the situations of their daily life experiences.  Through open discussion, group service events, and some social bonding events, this group works together and individually to further develop a higher Truth consciousness.  They are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to help strengthen their spiritual development by attending sub-regional, regional and international rallies and conferences.
 

Sunday Morning / Lesson Structure

Opening Activity:  Children sign in, make a name tag, and participate in coloring and/or starting a new activity applicable to the lesson of the day.

Gathering Circle:  Each class group move into their designated room, then open with meditation, prayer, and/or reading of the Daily Word, along with a brief description of the lesson topic.

Lesson Time:  Lesson topic is again shared and briefly discussed, followed by the reading of the applicable children’s story, movies, and questions for thought that are to be discussed.

Explore/Discuss:  After the story and/or movies, the children are asked to share their thoughts about the story, telling how the story may have made them feel, if they could identify with any character in the story, and what Unity Principle would apply to the story.  The children are also encouraged to share how or if the story could help them daily.  The questions are designed to encourage personal exploration based on their age levels and understanding.

Creative Expression:  During this time, the children work on activities that assist them in applying Truth Principles and getting a better understanding of how to apply the lesson with their family and friends.  Activities may include a love project for a special holiday, like Mother’s or Father’s Day.

Sharing:  This is the time we focus on the energy of sharing and loving by giving a love offering.  It is also a time for the children to ask other questions or share any thoughts they feel are important to share.

Closing Meditation: Generally, each group closes their class separately.  However, periodically all of the groups come back together. To close.
 

A Living Curriculum

Considering the wisdom of our co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore, who said “we are here to help bring forth the Christ within our children and not simply to entertain them, as we set our intent to provide quality spiritual education, we must ensure that we are ready and able to give the best of ourselves to spiritual experience of our youth in our Youth and Family Program through a Living Curriculum. The Living Curriculum is not one specific piece of material, but “is a philosophy, a process and a program of spiritual support to assist children, teens, families and the church community in successful living.  A Living Curriculum is designed to ‘draw forth’ the truth mainly through experiences, storytelling and creative expression.  Each lesson relates to an issue in a person’s life and seeks to facilitate an experience of God connected to their life.”

The Living Curriculum Philosophy 5-Point Checklist

This 5-point check list is a way to see if you are using the Living Curriculum Philosophy when you are presenting your lessons, no matter who created those lessons.

1. Identify: What is the issue or theme that you want to explore?

2. The Vehicle: What story, Bible story, movie passage or experiential activity are you using to introduce the issue or theme and help the children create a connection to it?

3. Explore/Interact: How are you encouraging the children to explore this issue or theme in order to make it relevant to their lives?  Is it through “wonder questions,” role-playing, puppets,visualization, meditative experience, etc...?

4. Reflection: What methods are you using to allow the children to express the parts of the story that have meaning to them?  This needs to be an open-ended activity that will awaken the story in them.  Examples are: art activities, music, journaling, etc…

5. Sharing: Allow time for the children to share what the lesson meant to them.  Also encourage them to continue exploring the issue or theme on their own by asking them to take a particular action that is related to the story.  Help them to make the lesson relevant to their lives.

Class General Information

Spiritual Education classes are held for children 5 years and older during the 10:00 am service.  Nursery care is also provided for children 4 years and under (including infants), during the morning service.

Sunday Morning Time Schedule
9:45 to 10:05........................Opening Activity
10:05 to 10:15 .....................Circle Time
10:15 to 10:55......................The Lesson / Discussion / Love Offering
10:55 to 11:00......................Closing Prayer

The Drop Off
Students, ages 5 years to 8th grade, should be escorted to the Youth Ed Room, on the lower level,  by a parent or other adult between 9:45 and 10:15 am.  Sign-in is required.
Y.O.Uers (high school age) also gather in the Youth Ed Room before going upstairs.

The Pick Up
All children 10 years old and under are to be picked up in the Youth Ed Room immediately following the service by their parents or other adult. Signed out is required.
We will not release the children to their non-adult siblings.