Student Open Circles Wins an Award

Our volunteer group at Reading Buddies Literacy program at Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre was new this year, which gives children the ability to read 1-on-1 with a volunteer and gain confidence in their own literacy skills

This spring, Student Open Circles was honoured with the “Community Service” Award  by the Hamilton-Wentworth Occasional Teachers union. Here’s an excerpt from the awards presentation:

When our local developed our community service awards, we recognized that we don’t operate in a vacuum and … that we could learn a great deal by seeking out those with kind hearts, those who would apply themselves selflessly to making change and showing compassion, understanding, and respect for all. Student Open Circles is a fine example of what it means to be caring committed citizens. It is a local charity that promotes community volunteering among McMaster University students as well as on-campus forums for students from diverse backgrounds to discuss their personal values, deeper meaning and social justice concerns. The Community Volunteer Action wing of the group coordinates over 300 Mac students to volunteer weekly at agencies throughout Hamilton. Students are role models and tutors for many students within the Hamilton Wentworth School board and are serving in the breakfast program at Dr. Davey School and are classroom assistants at Bennetto school, along with many other afterschool programs.

Volunteers at Inasmuch Women’s Shelter weekly give moms a break every Monday and Friday, building relationships with children while engaging them in games and craft activities.

Leah Schwenger, principal of Dr. Davey says:  “Members of Open Circle have volunteered in our Breakfast Program for the past 3 years. We have about 35 members who help out. They arrive early in the morning before 8:00 a.m. – in all sorts of weather! Our program could not run without their help. Our students love them. They help with food prep, food serving, clean up…but most importantly as wonderful role models to our children. They sit and eat with the children, talking to them about this and that. They make the program resemble a family sitting down to breakfast before a busy day. How often does this happen in our busy lives? Because of Open Circle our Breakfast program has become so much more than a way to make sure kids are fed.”