Nurturing spiritual, emotional, and mental health

by Danya El-Ahmed, Open Circle student and volunteer group facilitator

Student Open Circles has influenced my life in every way.  Through the volunteer groups, I found my closest friends.  I can't think of anything that can make people feel closer to each other than being in a space dedicated to giving.  Also, despite initially finding it hard to find my voice and speak out in public, through reflections after volunteering each week, facilitators provided a safe space that allowed me to share comfortably.  Since I became a volunteer group facilitator, I have developed my leadership skills and now feel confident talking and sharing a lot more than ever before.


Open Circle "helps me recalib rate my compass every time"  

Most importantly though, it has allowed me to learn about my local community in a way that reading articles or attending classes rarely can.  Meeting and connecting with Hamilton community members made me realize that I wanted a career and lifestyle that gave me opportunities to listen to and help empower my neighbors.  I want to make sure I continue to immerse myself in the community to understand societal issues that otherwise I wouldn't be aware of.   

Through Student Open Circles' on-campus groups and events, I have learned (and continue to learn) to find myself and my motivations.  It is easy in university to lose sight of what matters most, but the reflection circles, events, and extracurricular courses help me recalibrate my compass every time.  Open Circle has such a positive influence on my spiritual, emotional, and mental health, I cannot imagine having had a wholesome university experience without everything it has provided me with.