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Social Justice at UUSO

Social Action Team

The Social Action Team meets regularly to communicate with and support social, economic, and environmental justice groups and to provide information regarding social-justice issues within the congregation, at local and regional levels, and worldwide.  The team works with local and regional social-service organizations and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, among other groups.

The Social Action Team also compiles the annual list of recipients for Share Our Plate, whereby the weekly offering, except for donations marked as annual pledge fulfillment, is shared monthly with designated local social-service or social-action nonprofit organizations.

Social Action Team meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend. During COVID-19, the meetings began taking place over Zoom, and this continues currently, at 6:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Formerly we met in person, usually with a shared potluck supper following the meeting. We hope to resume meeting in person but have no specified date for that yet. When we do, the information will be published here, in the weekly UUSO Newsletters, in other in-house publications for the congregation, and available to all on this website’s church calendar. Meanwhile, please contact the Social Action Team at for further information, or view the UUSO Calendar for the Zoom link and meeting passcode.

To inform everyone about the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) email newsletters, and other social-media outlets dedicated to social-justice issues, the Social Action Team has created a list of resources for anyone who would like to receive information on specific topics. Throughout the UUA and UUSC, there are numerous groups working on many different issues. Please click here to access the list. The first section gives the website links to sign up for email newsletters; the second section lists Facebook pages. See the Facebook pages for information on other social-media links. For more information on the UUA’s activities on social-justice issues, go to the UUA website and type your issue of interest into the search section.

The Mali Education Project


Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision: We reach for a better world.

Mission: To support Youchaou’s School in Mali to support education for children and to promote intercultural growth for ourselves and our communities.

Values: We value respect, collaboration, empowerment, and transformative personal growth

Purpose: The purpose of the Mali Education Project is to make a difference in the lives of the residents of the Kalabankoro neighborhood in Bamako, Mali, West Africa. The group manages the sponsorship of fifty-six elementary (grades 1-9) children to attend Ecole Priveé Youchaou (Youchaou’s Private School). These are children who would otherwise not be able to attend school.  We hope that with this education the students will be able to make positive differences in their families, in their community, and in Mali – one of the poorest countries in the world.

Youchaou’s School Mission

Fund Raising: In addition to our yearly sponsorship drive, at least two major fundraisers are held annually. All proceeds go directly to benefit Youchaou’s School:

Youchaou’s School is a private, non-profit, secular school that Youchaou first began for his neighborhood children in 2000. Our group began by sponsoring 26 students in 2006. The school has now grown into a campus that enrolls 285 elementary students (we sponsor 56), as well as having a kindergarten, vocational school, and a high school. It consistently ranks among the top performing schools of the region and has won many awards. In addition to usual education subjects, the students learn French, English, and Computer Skills. They are exposed to the best current teaching techniques.

Building Community: Members of our group have visited the school (at our own expense) over the years and have always found a quality learning environment in the midst of homelessness and poverty.  We have, however, been unable to travel to Mali since the 2012 coup.  We remain in regular correspondence with Youchaou and others at the school. Youchaou has been able to visit Oneonta (at his own expense) both before and after the coup. Even so, Youchaou’s School and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta NY continue to actively build relationships between our two communities, across cultures and across the world.

For more information, to make a tax-deductible donation, to attend a meeting, or to explore sponsorship please contact Susan Ryder, Chair, or Shirley Ferguson, Sponsorship Coordinator, at


Saturday’s Bread

Saturday’s Bread is hot meal program based in Oneonta, NY. Every Saturday a free meal is served from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to anyone in the community who comes to the First United Methodist Church at 66 Chestnut Street. In addition, local grocery stores and bakeries donate food that can be taken home by the guests at Saturday’s Bread.

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Society volunteer to help prepare and serve the meal several times each year. The coordinator for the UUSO volunteers is Deb Bruce.