Youth & Family
Welcome to The Wonder Zone
We are excited to introduce the newest component of our Sunday morning Youth & Family Ministry program. This distinctive approach is designed for our elementary youth.
Our custom at Unity Sarasota is to begin the day with children and families together in the sanctuary. We move from there to our Sacred Circle where we sing and have a brief mediation time. Then we cross the threshold into The Wonder Zone . This is a special space where we engage sacred stories.
The children are welcomed by name as they enter this space and they immediately know it was designed with them in mind. Shelves lined with baskets and trays hold wooden figures that are used to tell the stories. Everything is touchable and nothing is breakable.
As the children pick their cushion in the story circle…the wonder begins. The storyteller goes to get the story from the shelves so the children will always know where to find it. As the story of the week unfolds the children are encountering it in a way that allows them to enter the story and find their own meaning in it.
This approach is deeply respectful of children’s spiritual nature. The story is followed by wondering questions…there are no right or wrong answers … just an invitation to find their own connections to the story.
Then there is time for creative expression. From a variety of supplies, each child selects the materials they would like to use. They might draw something that helps them remember the story. They might create something that expresses how the story makes them feel , or they might retell the story to the storyteller. While entering stories and doing their creative response work, children are meditating in an artistic and kinesthetic way.
The morning closes with the group in a circle again, saying the Prayer for Protection, singing Go Now in Peace and being sent out with a blessing!
This approach draws on Godly Play and Montessori and dovetails beautifully with Unity’s concept of Living Curriculum. Unity recognizes children as unique expressions of God and also seeks to enable them to develop and trust their intuition, their inner guidance.
The Wonder Zone is a gift to the children. They notice the respect and honor with which they are treated. One of our teachers (who is also a parent of a child in this group )commented that the time in The Wonder Zone was giving the children the gift of rest. “All week long, she said, information comes at them at top speed. This environment gives them time and space to slow down, take their time and engage in wonder.”
That is the goal…creating a welcoming, loving space, where children and the adults who come alongside them, enjoy each other, enjoy the sacred stories, and enjoy the Presence of Spirit!
The Light of God Surrounds Us.
The Love of God Enfolds Us.
The Power of God Protects Us.
The Presence of God Watches over Us.
Wherever We are God Is.
And All Is Well. Amen.
-Prayer of Protection
Uniteens are adolescents (teen or preteen) seeking to develop self-identity amidst rapid physical & emotional changes. Uniteens are in grades 6, 7, 8 or equivalent, who come together to learn Unity Principles & how to apply them, share fellow-ship in a safe, spiritually based environment, and to be supported in their spiritual growth and development.
When Do Uniteens Meet?
On Sundays Uniteens meet to explore spiritual Truth & its application in their lives through a meaningful Sunday lesson. This includes prayer, meditation, Scripture & activities related to the Sunday lesson. In addition, there are planned social activities, fun outings, service projects and regional retreats.
What Activities Are Offered?
Social & Service gatherings are planned for friendship, group building & to raise the consciousness of selfless giving. The events and activities outside of regular Sunday meetings help bond the group and provide opportunities to practice and apply spiritual principles to daily life.
“We do not provide religious education, but we facilitate spiritual self-discovery.”
The mission of Y.O.U is to provide a setting for High School students in which the principles of Practical Christianity, as taught by Unity, are brought into interaction with life situations through experiential, synergetic learning experiences applicable to daily life.
- To introduce the individual to Truth principles.
- To help the individual to understand and practice Truth principles in his/her everyday life.
- To involve the individual in actual prayer and meditation experiences.
- To promote the ideal of individuals working together and enjoying fellowship, worship, study and service.
- Provide a weekly opportunity to explore a concept in Truth.
- Provide an environment of security and safety for the sharing and exploration of feelings.
- Create an atmosphere of total acceptance to help young people establish their own identity, self-worth and confidence, and a feeling of “belonging.”
- Help young people explore and seek a set of values FOR THEMSELVES.
- Help students define THEIR OWN purpose for living and develop a method of finding answers to life’s complexities.
- Help students develop a sense of interdependence through working together in a supportive, non-critical environment.
- Introduce new ways of communicating with self and others based on the principles of affirmation, denials and beholding the Christ in all people and situations.
- Expose the YOUers to their own personal power through creative self expression and service activities.–
Five Basic Unity Principles for Children and Teens:
- God is all good and active in everything, everywhere.
- I am naturally good because God’s Divinity is in me and in everyone.
- I create my experiences by what I choose to think and what I feel and believe.
- Through affirmative prayer and meditation, I connect with God and bring out the good in my life.
- I do and give my best by living the Truth that I know. I make a difference!
“How can I serve?”