2018 Grantee Profile: F-You- Forgiveness Project
“In a world filled with anger and resentment, it becomes easy to harden our hearts to the idea of letting go. Forgiveness is not permission, or predisposed justification- it is the release of detrimental feelings, thoughts, and emotions that can consume us”. F-You: The Forgiveness Project “encourages and empowers all of us to let go, for no one other than ourselves”, and consistently begs the question, ‘what does forgiveness look like to you’?
In 2010, the F-You Project was founded by the incomparable, Tara Muldoon. Over the last decade, Tara has grown this project into the institution it is today- running hundreds of programming sessions, winning countless awards, earning commendations by community members, celebrities and politicians alike, and being featured on platforms ranging from MTV to the CBC.
The F-You Project was first funded by ArtReach in 2013 for, ‘Grief’, a youth-led writing project that resulted in a published book of memoirs on the themes of grief, loss, and acceptance. Through the project, youth participated in capacity-building workshops related to storytelling, writing, and spoken performance, building their skills and creating the space to safely share, document, and process their grief.
In 2015, they successfully reapplied for funding for, ‘Sad City’, an artistic and provocative play on the statistic that Toronto is the second saddest city in Canada due to depression. The project created exhibits and art installations, and included random acts of art-based projects all to align for making our ‘Sad City’ a brighter place.
And in 2018, funded for their third (and sadly) final time by ArtReach, the F-You Project ran, Look Both Ways, a two-part program that resulted in a six-episode podcast and a quarterly
publication for inmates and by inmates of Toronto South Detention Centre. In reflecting on the project, the team shares, “While recording each of our guests, one of the most striking similarities between them is how much what these guys saw in the communities they grew up in affected their choices. One would think it’s obvious by now what some of the main issues are in lower income and at-risk communities, yet the impetus to address the social imbalance is still overwhelmingly reactive only when a crisis arises. Among the most important insights that was reinforced by speaking with our guests, is that incarceration and recidivism will continue until there are meaningful changes into the ways we address poverty, mental health, and a focused effort on rehabilitation for people in custody”.
So what’s next for the F-You Project? With CBC supporting their podcast series, and various post-secondary institutions looking to offer accreditation for their programming, its only onward and upward for these trailblazing change-makers. ArtReach is so incredibly thankful for the privilege of getting to work with Tara and the F-You Project over the past seven years, and wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors.
Be sure to follow their success on Instagram here!