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.

Time, Attention, and Care

August 2013

It’s easy to think that you need to be particularly talented, smart, or influential to make a significant difference in the world.  But Ingrid and Kathleen will tell you that very often it comes down to giving your time, paying attention, and genuinely caring.  Their experiences in Student Open Circles have shown them first-hand how their volunteer work changes lives – for those whom they serve and for themselves!

Being the Change

May 2013
  • “I’ve become more open – my parents even notice!”
  • “I’ve realized life is not just about money and getting into med school.”
  • “You don’t need to be Mother Teresa to make a change. Just being there is enough.”

Hear from many students who have grown through their involvement in Student Open Circles, including Graham, who describes what he learned through doing a volunteer Coop placement with us, and Divya, who tells about finding the courage to work with children in a challenging situation.

Transformation through Reflection

March 2013

Rachel, a CVA student facilitator, reflects on how volunteering is influencing her life while she acts as a role model for youth, and Sofia shares how being introduced to reflection through Open Circle as a student has changed her life for the better. When asked if she’d write about her experiences in Open Circle, Sofia said, “I'd love to! Open Circle has been a great influence on my life!”

What do I want to do with my life?

December 2012

What do I want to do with my life? This is THE big (and scary) question for many students who are part of Open Circle discussions and CVA volunteer groups. The stories in this letter give you glimpses into how we are supporting students who are asking themselves the big questions and discovering their authentic life path.

Accompanying On Life's Journey

August 2012

Student Open Circles is making a difference in the lives of many people. Students at McMaster University are experiencing caring and supportive community with their peers, and as Kenny describes, discovering that their life and spiritual journey does not need to be a lonely "uphill battle." And through our weekly volunteer groups, students are actively helping out and learning about the larger Hamilton community. By going on an imaginative photo-journey through the inner city and by reading Amber's story of her special friendship with Sam, we hope that you'll gain an appreciation for how the service work these students are engaged in is so beneficial for them and for the people they serve.

Bringing Out the Best

May 2012

"My involvement has brought out the best in me (even my Mom sees the difference!) and has taught me to be really connected to people around me, to see the good in all people and give them a chance. I am taking with me a deeper sense of who I am and how to live out of my values."

Listening, Questioning, Living Authentically

February 2012

Who am I? How can I live authentically? How can I make a positive difference to those around me? These are the types of questions that students are exploring in Open Circle discussions, volunteer groups, and at our recent weekend retreat. In this newsletter, you’ll hear from a couple of retreat participants - Bryan, who shares about what helping to plan the retreat meant to him, and Sheree, who reflects on the unexpected surprises of volunteering. In addition, Kathryn describes how serving children at the Breakfast Program inspired her to start a very practical project to make a difference in their lives.

From Isolation to Connection

December 2011

“I don’t like it when people say we’re so connected today through social media and technology. It’s communication but not real connection,” declared Dara. Find out how students are finding connection through service, meaningful interactions with their peers, and through opportunities to reflect on their life and spiritual journeys.

Student Open Circles Turns 10!

August 2011

Anniversaries are a time to look back and notice – how we got to where we are, what’s happened along the way, and how it’s made a difference. As Student Open Circles turns 10, we reflect on the journey to where we are today as well as our hopes and dreams for the next ten years.

Longing for a Better World

June 2011

"I am only 22 and I weep for the future," says Michael, a McMaster student who shares at a on campus discussion about social justice issues that they are passionate about.