Growth and Resilience to Serve


by Yashasvi Yadav, student leader

I got involved in Student Open Circles in the fall term after the pandemic started. In the midst of persistent lockdowns, global grief surrounding COVID-19, uncertainty, social unrest and a blaring climate change crisis, I needed some way of grounding myself. I started by attending the reflection circles, which were essential in restoring some sense of true community and positive healing in a time of isolation and unpredictability. Although they took place online, I felt comfortable and heard, and they helped me build the social stamina I needed to do something I’d always wanted to do: volunteering and serving the community in a meaningful way.

Even during COVID-19 lockdowns, the whole process of applying and joining a Student Open Circles weekly volunteer group was extremely easy. Before getting matched to a volunteering group, I had been struggling to find volunteer opportunities in the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was very refreshing to see how on the day of volunteer recruitment, everything was systematically planned like it would be, had it been in person, with separate breakout rooms consisting of greeters, placement facilitators, and staff.

Over the past two school years, I’ve engaged with diverse groups of people ranging from elderly to elementary kids. I also appreciate the way that the volunteer groups include reflection every week, which allows us to decompress, share concerns and, at its core, build a sense of community with each other.

Student Open Circle continues to be a focal point for growth and positive change in my university experience. I’ve become a volunteer group facilitator and lead reflections myself, and I’m on the event planning team; there is always room for more growth. At its heart, Student Open Circles strives to promote awareness, stability, growth, and resiliency. I’ve seen how myself and many of my peers are able to better sustain our growth and community involvement due to the immense support this organization has continually granted. SOC has taught me what a healthy organization looks like and has given me a lifelong resilience and persistent determination towards serving my community.