Volunteer in Religious Education and Make a Difference in a Child’s Life!

By Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education

It is more important than ever, in this particular moment in time, given the current political climate, urgency for social justice, and ongoing struggle for sexuality and gender equality(etc.), that our children and youth have strong, committed leaders to help lead them soundly into understanding their own spiritual and moral compass!

~Katie Maedke Hall, Children & Youth RE Committee Member

It is not too early to start thinking about working with our UU children in Religious Education classes next year. In fact, it is critical that we have our volunteers in place before our summer program begins in June. Please consider stepping up to ensure that our young people will be well cared for as we continue to raise them in our faith tradition this coming year! Visit the RE Table in the Common Room to volunteer or to ask for more information.

  • Being A Sunday School Class Leader Means Learning at Least as Much as You Teach. It means taking a curriculum and making it yours so that in turn you can make it belong to the children you are exploring with. Working with our children on Sundays allows you to learn from them and with them. Whether your subject matter is something you just learned or something you are an expert at, you can see it in a new way as you see through the eyes of our children.
  • What Does Being an RE Class Leader Involve? With the help of a comprehensive curriculum and support from RE staff and liaisons, class leaders guide children in experiences that awaken curiosity and nurture questioning as they continue their individual journeys of spiritual development. Teaching will be shared by teams. Within the team, members will divide up and share the responsibilities according to each member’s ability to participate. As a member of a three-person team, each teacher commits to be present approximately one-third of the Sundays, or twelve-thirteen weeks’ total between September and May.
  • What is the Role of High School Youth Advisor? Youth Advisors provide support for 9-12 Grade teens along with their journey of discovery, help create a space that is safe and conducive for growth, and work in partnership with the youth leaders. YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalist) Advisors commit to approximately eighteen Sundays per church year; Sunday topics and themes are generated by the Youth Steering Committee
  • What is the Role of an RE Class Assistant? The primary role of an RE class assistant is to make it possible for the class leader to teach. This is an active position that requires initiative. We expect our assistants to check in with leaders to determine how they can be most helpful each time they are in class. The assistants may be called upon to lead small groups, to redirect children in their behavior, to prepare materials, or to help little ones with projects. Teams of four or more assistants are assigned to a class and are generally scheduled once per month (though some instead choose to work directly with a particular leader, which will schedule differently.)
  • What is the Role of an RE Inclusion Buddy? Some of our children benefit from having special assistance in the classroom. An inclusion buddy can focus on their needs and best strategies for their involvement. The time commitment involved will depend on our number of volunteers but is not likely to exceed attending two classes per month.
  • What Kind of Support is Available for RE Leaders, Youth Advisors, and Assistants?
     1. The RE Committee will provide curriculum materials for all K5-Eighth Grade classes.
    2. Our Youth Program Coordinator guides advisors in our YRUU Youth group in collaborating with the teens to have a greater say and leadership in their own Religious Education experience.
    3. The teams will receive support and guidance all year as needed from the Religious Education staff, CRE Committee and/or Youth Steering Committee.
    4. All services will be podcast, so teachers will not have to miss hearing them.
    5. Visits to current Sunday School classes can be arranged so that anyone considering teaching can observe and talk to current teachers.

If you do not think that you can get involved with a teaching team next year, but you do want to help, we have other opportunities:

  • You could be an “On Call” substitute for a class leader or assistant
  • You could offer to chaperone a youth group trip to a weekend conference.
  • You could serve as a member of either the Children’s RE or Youth Steering Committees!

Please contact Beryl at beryl[at]uumilwaukee[dot]org or 414-273-5257 ext. 204 if you think you might help or would like to know more about these opportunities!

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