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.

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.

Tutors Help Youth Stay in School

February 2011

"The only reason I'm able to stay in school is because of the help you give me at the Homework Club," shared 'Abdul' a recent immigrant youth. Read about how Student Open Circles is making a difference within the needs and opportunities of the inner city and on the McMaster campus.

Stories from the Tech-Free Zone

December 2010

Students talk about why they are giving up their cellphones and laptop computers for two hours each week. Through this event they are becoming aware of issues such as poverty in our own community, as well as engaging in conversation and creative expression that helps them to gain a renewed perspective amidst the many pressures and distractions that they face.

Holding Space

September 2010

"Open Circle has provided the foundation for me to begin my spiritual journey. Had I not been ready, it would have not touched me so deeply, but had it not been there, I would not have grown so profoundly. The most wonderful thing about Open Circle is meeting a diverse group of people who share in the commonality of spiritual practice and the realization of something deeper in life. These qualities result in powerful interactions that serve to restore faith and hope for our world."