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.

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.

Enriched by Diversity

June 2014

The Open Circle community is enriched by students who come from a wide diversity of faith and non-religious backgrounds. Engaging in discussion with this diversity and serving together provides significant opportunities for growth.

Moments of Discovery

March 2014

One of the most exciting parts of accompanying young adults on their life and spiritual journeys are those moments when a person discovers more of who they really are: what they are passionate about, the things that concern them, and what gives them hope. Or when they realize how their life can make a positive difference; when they discover the particular issues or people that they care deeply about, the unique gifts that they can contribute, and where they will look for support as they live out their calling.

Finding Meaning and Worthiness

December 2013

Most university students feel a great deal of stress and pressure to succeed, perform, and produce.  There is always a scarcity of time, and many feel they are never achieving enough no matter how much they study.  It can feel like they are not enough; that their value as a person is in doubt. Student Open Circles is helping these young adults to cope with the pressures, to reflect and find meaning in their life, and to live out of a deeper sense of worthiness and authenticity.