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.

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?”

Transformed by Community

May 2015

I’m amazed how quickly students are transformed by the kind of community they experience with us in Student Open Circles ... I’m full of wonder as I witness these young people becoming spiritual companions to each other, inviting others into the same kinds of reflection that they’ve experienced.

Everyone Has Value

March 2015

Which of the following were heard from students in Open Circle recently?

  1. Usually I feel like adults think I’m a nuisance…because I’m “just a teenager,” which to them means I’m annoying, in the way, without a valid opinion, idealistic.
  2. Thank you for seeing me as a valid soul and respecting me despite my age.
  3. I’ve never had space like this where I can share about who I am without having to explain...

To find out the answer, read on! Also, see highlights from our winter retreat, learn how Student Open Circles volunteers are mentoring at-risk children, and hear Shahan's story of how he discovered meaningful connection with others and himself through Open Circle discussions and events.

Leadership Conversations

December 2014

Our student leaders reflect on how they are growing personally through their role and how they are being influenced through our regular Facilitator Training meetings and individual mentoring: “I started the year skeptical of how useful the regular Facilitator Training sessions would be in developing my skills as a facilitator and leader, but having done a year of it, I realize that they have been a great space for me to grow as a whole person.”

Finding a Story to Live From

August 2014

 

How do we discover new stories to live by? In Student Open Circles, we see students discovering more life-giving stories through their volunteer experiences, through being listened to, or by having someone notice with them the story they are living by and whether it’s what they choose.