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Religious Exploration:
Children & Youth at Live Oak UU Fellowship

The mission of our Children's Religious Education/Exploration (RE) program is to nourish a sense of community, help our young people value themselves and others, develop an appreciation for the beliefs of other religions and an understanding of Children doing an experiment together outside.Unitarian Universalism. We strive to foster in the children a sense of personal and social responsibility to our world and its inhabitants, while encouraging an experience of wonder. We also hope each young person will fully experience the joy of being an integral member of a loving UU church. See our current brochure about our program.

Children & Youth Religious Exploration Team

The Children & Youth Religious Exploration (CYRE) Committee will be happy to answer any questions about Live Oak's program or team. Email and we'll connect you with the best person to answer your questions. We are delighted to announce we have once again found an outstanding, experienced teacher to work with our children, JeKaren Olaoya (pictured below).

JeKaren OlaoyaJeKaren is an experienced UU religious educator. She served as Director of Religious Education (DRE) for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County. And she currently serves as DRE for Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont. She will continue to work there on Sunday mornings and then work with our children on Sunday afternoon.

JeKaren has a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Art and Sociology from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. And she is currently working on a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University.

JeKaren is assisted by Elena Waller, our regular CYRE assistant. Occasionally adults from our congregation help out, too.

Our CYRE team includes Sylvia Balding, Ximena Rossi, Angie Watson-Hajjem, and chair Kathryn Duke.



Current Program

Live Oak is committed to developing a religious community that actively involves children. Our children and youth participate in our worship service for the first 15-20 minutes each Sunday. Children help light the Chalice candle and participate in the Story for All Ages section of the service. Adults then sing them out to their classes. Visitors (children and parents alike!) are always welcome to attend CYRE classes. Likewise, children are welcome to stay in the sanctuary with a parent, if they prefer.

Children working with clay, making UU chalices to take home.We offer religious exploration through activities, stories, crafts, and walks to nearby sites of interest. Most recently we used Spirit of Adventure: UU Identity Curriculum. Written especially for active primary and elementary age kids, it features unique themes, such as sports, medicine, architecture, science and food. The kids enjoy active play such as circus arts, a "take apart party," obstacle course, and a treasure hunt.

We also provide time for the kids to socialize and play together -- and to join the larger community for our communal meal after worship and/or class. We are also fortunate to have an outdoor play area with equipment.


How We Fulfill Our Mission

  • Teaching about the world’s religions, including our own
  • Fostering social responsibility and personal growth by participation in service projects for our community and outside groups
  • Providing instruction in UU principles and practices to assist children and youth in forming their own belief system
  • Ensuring a safe learning environment
  • Providing activities and rituals
  • Integrating our children into our church community and the greater UU denomination
  • Providing knowledge of UU history to help children build confidence in their own UU identity.

Children drawing with chalk outdoors.



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