"Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work is not transactional. If you want it to be transformational it has to be relational."
– Aiko Bethea
Unity Circle is a structured support group model for people of all genders that addresses critical needs and strengths while honoring and celebrating the unique lived experiences of circle participants.
Rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles, it aims to boldly counteract racial and social forces that impede growth and development in all types of environments. One Circle Foundation acknowledges and explores the complex ways in which race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, and gender intersect and shape, impede and/or strengthen the relational experiences and dimensions of adolescent development.
Who Is It For?
Unity Circle is a space beyond the gender binary that responds to the needs and strengths of LGBTQ+ communities, gender diverse and gender non-conforming youth, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations, and allies. It promotes an emotionally safe and brave setting and structure in which all youth and/or adults can develop supportive and healthy connections.
Unity Circle Format
Unity Circle follows One Circle Foundation’s seven-step format with an Opening, Theme Introduction, Warm Up, Check-in, Activity, Sharing of Activity, and Closing. The Unity Circle Activity Guides are designed to help you, as a facilitator, set a safe and supportive environment and provide weeks of age-appropriate themes and activities. Unity Circles are most often held weekly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, in-person or online. Each week as the facilitator, you lead your group through a format that includes each one taking turns sharing and actively listening to one another respectfully about their lived experiences.
Unity Circle may be the appropriate model for use when convening all genders, mixed-gender circles, parent/caregiver circles, adult circles, and adult-youth circles, and gender-diverse youth circles – that is, any circle which is more suited to an all-gender rather than a gender-specific environment.
Enhancing Current Programs
Content in the guides described as a Unity Circle program may also be applicable within Girls Circle® or The Council for Boys and Young Men Circle®, and Women’s Circle® programs.
Giving Voice to Feelings
When youth and adults voice their ideas, opinions, and lived experiences in a safe environment, it strengthens their confidence and self-esteem and encourages them to express themselves more fully and critically think through their behaviors and choices. By examining cultural factors and social conditioning in a circle setting, they gain a deeper awareness of their perspectives and affirm their ability to make healthy choices that are in alignment with their values.
PRIDE is a 10-Session activity guide for use with LGBTQ+ youth of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and allies. This program may be used as a stand-alone circle program, implemented within a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), or facilitated with existing Girls Circle and The Council groups. Includes instruction for both ONLINE and IN-PERSON facilitation. Ages 9 -18.
MGRB is an 8-Session activity guide that promotes dialogue and understanding around racial inequities and discriminatory views and practices toward youth and/or adults of diverse racial and gender identities and sexual orientations and builds resilience through allyship strategies and relational healing. From within this relational context, it offers discussions and experiential activities to promote awareness and equity, and ultimately to improve health and well-being for youth and/or adults of color and LGBTQ+ identities through knowledge, empathy, and allyship skills and actions. Includes instruction for both ONLINE and IN-PERSON facilitation. Appropriate for older teenagers and adults.
Packed with essential tools and resources to promote healthy development for youth growing up in today’s digital world. Providing skills development for media literacy, digital citizenship, and more accurate public health and sexual safety information, this curriculum harnesses the relational strengths of youth to effectively explore the complex intersecting topics of technology, sexuality, and relationships. Ages 11-18.