Our Newsletter

Download or Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter for inspiring stories and insights, with reflections by our staff, Marybeth Leis and Jeff Druery and by students.

Spreading Compassion

November 2017

Our world needs more compassion. Whether it’s the at-risk youth in the inner city who needs mentorship, social support, and help with their homework from weekly volunteers like Justin, or whether it’s a university student like Jonathan who has been engaged in a lonely search for meaning, we all need the support of people who truly care about us. Student Open Circles is creating places of belonging, where students can receive the care and support they need, and then reach out and spread that care to others in practical and life-changing ways.

Am I Enough?

August 2017

What is enough? Am I enough? These are questions that students feel but often run from. The feeling that there is something wrong and it’s me is reflective of the larger culture where there’s so much competition to look and act and succeed in a certain way.

15 Years of Changed Lives

May 2017

Student Open Circles began 15 years ago in response to students’ need for safe spaces to explore their big questions and to serve together. Today, this need is even more visible! As much as ever, we need young people who reflect deeply about who they are, the values that they live by, and what their own unique contribution is towards a world that embodies compassion instead of fear.

New series helps students “become themselves”

March 2017

When I told one of our student leaders that more students than ever are getting involved in Open Circle, she responded by saying, “That makes sense. I think my generation is realizing that the way things have been done isn’t working. We’re looking for another way.” We continued to talk about how the current world turmoil may be bringing this quest for more to the surface. In this letter, students reflect on how the Becoming Yourself series helps them to live authentically in their day-to-day lives and to make a life-giving difference in the world around them.

Creating Space for Reflection

November 2016

Students tell us that they need a place to step out of the frantic pace of school and reflect on what matters most in their lives. Emily, Alex, and Simon’s stories tell how Student Open Circles creates this place to stay grounded, to be more empathetic towards others, and to gain a broader perspective.

Young Adults Get Creative!

August 2016

Whether it’s reflecting together after volunteering by drawing on a page, role-playing in a leadership meeting to solve a problem, or journal writing in a reflection circle, there is something about engaging our creative selves that helps young people to trust each other and to go deeper.

Helping Students towards Wellness and Spiritual Growth

May 2016

Pursuing meaning and purpose is common during the young adult stage in life. The questions that Mohamed and Stevie are wrestling with are catalysts for growth. By providing guidance and the support of a community, Student Open Circles is helping young people to discover their inner value and worth as well as the contribution they want to make with their lives.

Moved by Compassion

March 2016

What moves us to compassionate action? Here are two stories that speak to this question. Jordan finds inspiration through mentoring children in struggling inner-city neighbourhoods with his Student Open Circles’ volunteer group. Douglas was welcomed into a warm and caring community with us when he was a student, and ten years later he continues to give back.

Stories we find ourselves in

November 2015

“How can I know if the story I’m telling myself is life-giving?” inquired a student at one of our reflection circles. Every day, the students we journey with are examining stories. The stories they were raised with, the story of culture or faith, stories from society of want and inequality, the stories they hear inside themselves. It’s a particularly poignant stage in life for sifting through all these beliefs. Together we explore what stories are ringing true for them. What do they find truly life-giving? This is forming our Open Circle themes for the year: “Stories we find ourselves in - who we are, where we come from, and where we might go.”

Back to School!

September 2015

This season of change means many things to many people. Anticipation is in the air! Students beginning their first year at University might feel excited yet “confused and awkward” as Stephanie describes. Some will get involved in Student Open Circles for the first time and, as Madeleine says, have “no idea what to expect.” Others look forward to continuing their journey of growth, like one person who e-mailed yesterday saying: “I'm getting more excited for the fall every day. More Open Circle soon! Looking forward to meeting next week to discuss more fall events!” And for those entering their final year of school, there’s often a sense of uncertainty as they face the question: “Now What?”