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.

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.

Time, Attention, and Care

August 2013

It’s easy to think that you need to be particularly talented, smart, or influential to make a significant difference in the world.  But Ingrid and Kathleen will tell you that very often it comes down to giving your time, paying attention, and genuinely caring.  Their experiences in Student Open Circles have shown them first-hand how their volunteer work changes lives – for those whom they serve and for themselves!

Being the Change

May 2013
  • “I’ve become more open – my parents even notice!”
  • “I’ve realized life is not just about money and getting into med school.”
  • “You don’t need to be Mother Teresa to make a change. Just being there is enough.”

Hear from many students who have grown through their involvement in Student Open Circles, including Graham, who describes what he learned through doing a volunteer Coop placement with us, and Divya, who tells about finding the courage to work with children in a challenging situation.

Transformation through Reflection

March 2013

Rachel, a CVA student facilitator, reflects on how volunteering is influencing her life while she acts as a role model for youth, and Sofia shares how being introduced to reflection through Open Circle as a student has changed her life for the better. When asked if she’d write about her experiences in Open Circle, Sofia said, “I'd love to! Open Circle has been a great influence on my life!”

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."