Youth and Family Mission Statement

Unity North Atlanta Youth and Family Ministry empowers every child and teen to live to their divine potential by celebrating their innate love, wisdom and creativity. We teach Unity Spiritual Principles in a God-centered, joyful, loving, respectful and safe environment.

Unikids – Infants through 5th grade

  • 11:15 am Sunday – lower level of Sanctuary

Uniteens – Teens in Middle School

  • 11:15 am Sunday – lower level of  the Admin Building

Youth of Unity – Teens in High School

  • 11:15 am Sunday – lower level of the Admin Building

Purpose

  • To provide each child the opportunity to discover, explore, and nurture a personal relationship with the presence of God within themselves and others.
  • To guide each child on an inward journey to find the creative power of God that lies in the center of their heart.
  • To empower a sense of Spiritual responsibility.
  • To instill a prayerful consciousness of acceptance and oneness with all people.

Tools

  • Through bible, story, and other sacred texts we teach the truth that every person has intrinsic value and is a beautiful/unique expression of the One!
  • Through sharing Unity principles we create conversations that every one of us has the ability to change our lives through our thoughts and feelings.
  • Through service we teach oneness with all people.
  • Through Prayer and meditation we access God.
  • Through gratitude we create a better world.

Peace Pole (2)

Our Peace Pole—built and maintained by the children of Unity North

Meet Our Children’s Coordinators

Richard Burdick

Rev. Richard Burdick

Youth Minister

Lisa Vail

Lisa Vail

Unikids Coordinator


Children through 5th Grade

Sundays at 11:15 on the lower level of the church
Suzie Burdick

Suzie Burdick

Uniteens Coordinator


Children in grades 6 through 8

Sundays at 11:15 in the lower level of the Administration Building

John Glasgow

Youth of Unity Coordinator


Teens in High School

Sundays at 11:15 in the lower level of Administration Building

Susan Clancy

Youth of Unity Coordinator


Teens in High School

Sundays at 11:15 in the lower level of Administration Building

We aim to make Sunday feel markedly different than the school week.  After all, this is a day of rest to commune with God, our inner knowing, family, and our precious church community!  To that end, Unikids Coordinator Lisa Vail and our caring guides have created a unique environment where learning and spiritual growth happens organically, children feel empowered to make choices on how they spend their time with us, where child-led ideas are welcomed and implemented, and lifelong bonds are forged.  Here, “learning to be” takes precedence over “learning to know”, utilizing many progressive childhood education concepts, such as:

One-Room Schoolhouse, Mixed Age Grouping

The one-room schoolhouses of old may have been born out of necessity but actually provided many benefits lost to today’s typical segregation of children into age groups.  These are some of the research-based findings of age-integrated environments:

-Mixed-age classrooms mimic natural family structures and community groupings (aka the real world!)

-Leadership, self-esteem, and empathy arise in older children when there are younger children in their lives who look up to them

– Younger children enjoy the attention and modeling provided by the older children

– Almost everyone in our Sunday classes has someone to be a mentor to, as well as be mentored

-Siblings spend precious time together

Balanced Structured/Unstructured Time

Most children spend their week on a very structured schooling routine- we want their Sundays with us to feel liberating and inspired!  We have worked hard to strike a balance between letting the children enjoy unstructured play in our intriguing classroom and outdoor spaces, work on a service project or catch up and connect with their church family with curriculum and lessons on secular ethics, mindfulness, Unity Principles, exposure to different religions and other social, emotional and spiritual learning.

Choice Within Set Boundaries

Research indicates how valuable choice-making is to children’s development into happy, confident humans.  So we like to offer choices whenever possible!  This is a typical, choice-filled Sunday in Unikids:

11:00-11:30 am Children can explore and play, put on a show on our outdoor stage, garden, participate in an art-related service project (ex. making Family Promise signs or thank you and get-well cards) come up with their own project or game with other children, hang out in our sitting area with church friends, be a buddy to a new or younger child in need of support- or all of the above and more!

11:30:  We call everyone together for a Circle Time gathering, where we can all greet one another, discuss a topic that’s impactful to the kids, contemplate the Unity Principles, recite the Prayer of Protection and hear about the options on offer for the rest of our time together.  A favorite ritual is passing around an energy stick while we all hold hands- a great visceral reminder we are all one!  This is a part of our time together that we encourage everyone to participate in, to the best of their abilities, as it is our time as a community to connect and support each other.

11:45-12:30 pm We try to have a special guest every week, who lead the children who would like to participate in yoga, meditation, peace crane-making, tapping, leadership development, storytelling, religious teachings, etc.  in the meditation or art room.  We find it is more enjoyable for all when children decide for themselves if they are able to participate fully.  Alternative options often revolve around older children reading a book with a positive message to younger children, before resuming play.

Guides rather than Teachers:

The concept of guides rather than teachers is a direct influence from the philosophies of education reformer Maria Montessori and is becoming the preferred role of adult interaction within many progressive private schools.  Instead of “teaching”, Unikids guides have a different intention; namely, to create an environment where every child feels nurtured, empowered and connected to his God-self.  Here’s a sampling of what a Unikids guide’s Sunday with the kids might look like:

-Greet each child warmly and spend time getting to know them

-Look for children in need of connection and play match-maker with another child if possible (giving them an opportunity to be helpful and empathetic)

-Redirect over-excited or potentially unsafe behavior using positive techniques (ex. ask rough housers to brainstorm how they can modify their game so it’s safer, or enlist “chill” older kids to hang out with a high-spirited young one)

-Be on the lookout and acknowledge kindnesses

-Set up opportunities for children to get to be a leader and show kindness (ex. If a small child asks you to tie their shoe, ask a nearby older child if they would like to do it-then watch them beam with pride!)

-Facilitate meaningful group discussions

-Help children implement ideas they have come up with

Uniteens

Middle Schoolers  –  6th through 8th Grade

uniteens3If you are a middle schooler, we will be so happy to have you come and join in the fun we have in Uniteens.   We gather downstairs in the “teen center”  on Sundays starting at 11:00 am for fun activities and then start our class about 11:25 am.  We have a great time and learn how Unity Principles help us make great choices in our lives so we are less stressed, more loving and lovable, and able to cope with “life” as we experience it!

We will do our best to help you feel welcome and a part of our group.  We know for some of you it’s a bit scary to come to a new place, but I promise, you will have a great time, meet new friends, and even learn some tools to help you create your best life possible!  In Uniteens you are accepted for who you are and loved for the unique way you shine your God light!

The Uniteens have 3 retreats a year where we connect with other Uniteens from all over the region.  Two of them, winter and fall, are held at Camp Weed in Live Oak, Florida.  The summer retreat is hosted by one of the area churches.

Directions

We meet downstairs in the Administration Building.  Go in the front door, walk straight ahead, turn left and there is a door you open to the stairs that take you down to the lower level.  At the bottom, turn right and we are the room at the end of the hall. Contact Suzie Burdick, Uniteens Coordinator

Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.)

Teens in High School

Can you imagine how your life might have been better had you discovered Unity when you were young?

Well – you don’t have to imagine it.  Just look at our teens – at our Youth of Unity – to see what it might have been like. You might have grown up with a feeling of total love and unconditional acceptance at a time of life when judgment can be harsh and approval hard to come by.  You will see a group of young people dancing their way through the sometimes unbearably awkward and demanding high school years. You will see young people who practice meditation while searching for a sense of spirit within. Young people who don’t know the meaning of “fear” or “loathing.” You will see teenagers ready to step unfettered into whatever the next stage of life might bring – aware of their own divinity, tolerant of others and, perhaps especially, accepting of themselves as well.

Sunday morning at 11:15 am

Contact John Glasgow