Activate Youth: Study Resources

The Youth Study Guides prepare participants for their journey with UUCSJ. They draw from many sources – books, articles, videos, and online content – and provide context for the program the group will experience.

While moving through these study guides, participants should:

  • Begin to form questions on their personal identity, privilege, and their connection to social justice
  • Start to understand their place in relation to the justice struggles they will observe on their journey

UUCSJ recognizes that schedules always feel full, time passes faster than we expect, and people may be tempted to shorten the preparation time, excited to simply get going on the journey itself. However, both leaders and youth participants will gain much more from the immersion journey if the resources within this guide are reviewed ahead of the program

Study Guide Overview:
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The Presentation

This guide is designed to be reviewed and presented by group leader/s or facilitator/s. However, other participants may browse the guide for information or inspiration! There is an appendix in the back of this guide with additional information including any handouts mentioned.

Importance of Spiritual Reflection

Participating in this UUCSJ program, and doing the justice work that follows, will often lead individuals out of their comfort zones. We have to struggle with our own opinions and beliefs when dealing with different social issues and cultures. To be effective agents of change and transformation in the long run, we must develop the ability to stay connected, even when uncomfortable, without becoming defensive. This kind of personal work requires a high level of self-awareness, patience, and compassion, which are qualities developed by spiritual practices.

Many aspects of U.S. society and culture train people well in the habits of multitasking. Though this can feel efficient, it comes with a price. The practices of deep thought and reflection, of thoughtful consideration; and the skill dig deeply to discover what we really feel about something. These are often sacrificed to constant busy-ness.

The learnings offered through this UUCSJ journey are best absorbed through deep attention, so participants are encouraged to choose a simple practice that will help develop this kind of attention. Throughout the study guide, there are sections for journaling or personal reflection. Please use them! Training in actions like attention, awareness, gratitude, and patience takes some deliberate effort. These practices will be utilized throughout the UUCSJ program as well.

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What's Missing from this Guide

While highly valued by UUCSJ, there are aspects of community building and self-care that are missing from this guide. They include:

  • Covenant Building
  • Group Ice-breakers
  • Personal Breaks

The hope is that group leader/s and/or facilitator/s will incorporate these elements, as appropriate, throughout the review of this guide.

Keep In Mind...

This guide is not designed to make participants experts on justice issues. Specific ideas will be explained in much more detail throughout the UUCSJ program and there will be plenty of time to ask questions of the facilitators. Also, justice issues are constantly changing, so participants are strongly encouraged to follow the UUCSJ partner organizations on social media to stay aware of updates.

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Heather Vickery is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with UU congregations, State Action Networks, past UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) program participants, and regional staff in order to expand engagement in UUSC and UUCSJ’s work. As the Coordinator for Congregational Activism, she manages the workshop offerings and group visits to the UUSC/UUCSJ office and assists with communications for the Activism and Justice Education Team. Heather is an active member of the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network and a dedicated dog-mom to her rescue puppy Nova.

Heather may be contacted at and 617-301-4303