What is YFR?

YFR is about building connections, relationships, and allyship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth and communities.

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YFR stands for Youth For Reconciliation.

This endeavour began as a project that involved students in Markham and Pikangikum participating in a collaborative novel study of Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse. Why Indian Horse? Because at its core the novel is about the power of telling your story.Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 7.53.04 PM

Inspired by Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book called Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership, and photojournalist Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” social media photoblog, our students collaboratively created a social media Instagram page where youth in both communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, have been authoring a series of photo stories.

The hope is that through sharing their stories, perspectives, experiences, and world views we can build connections, relationships, and allyship. Each series of photo stories were in response to and inspired by some aspect of Wagamese’s novel.

We’ve reached a time in education that necessitates a new approach to how teachers and students are engaged in the curriculum. Modern-learning requires the understanding that for teachers, we must facilitate our students’ development of the skills required to be successful in the 21st century.
This project began with an opportunity for our students to develop critical literacy skills in a meaningful and authentic way while also endeavouring to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It’s since grown to welcome a number of Guest Authors who are sharing their perspectives and insights into where we are as a nation now, and where we hope to be in the future.
 
Senator Murray Sinclair, the former head of the TRC said that “It’s up to society to step up and take the actions that are needed.” Students participating in YFR are attempting to do just that.