YWCA Toronto Elm Centre helps tenant say “F-You” to violence and grief

YWCA Toronto Elm Centre tenant Tara Muldoon talks to MTV Canada about her non-profit organization

YWCA Toronto Elm Centre tenant Tara Muldoon is giving a big F-You to the world. That is, she’s sharing her non-profit organization, F-You: The Forgiveness Project, with the world.

The F-You Project is a monthly speaker series that asks one question: What would it look like if you were to forgive yourself, or another person, today? Through half-hour TED-talk style presentations, over 100 speakers ranging from street-involved people to CEOs have shared their answers to that question.

Many F-You Project speakers are youth and young adults. Many have never told their stories before. Some have experienced violence. Some have inflicted it. Many have been on both sides of the coin (one of Tara’s project philosophies is “Hurt people hurt people”). What the speakers share is a desire to grow from their experiences, and help others on their own quests to forgive.

A survivor of sexual violence, Tara launched the F-You Project in late 2010 as one step in her own struggle to forgive the perpetrator – not for his sake, but for her own peace of mind and soul. Just over three years later, the project has earned praise from the likes of Pope Francis, Olivia Chow and The Source Magazine. The F-You Project also attracted the attention of MTV Canada, who produced Walk with Me: The Story of Tara Muldoon (parts of which were shot at YWCA Toronto Elm Centre), which aired on Saturday March 15th. Watch the video above.

Earlier this year on February 19 2014, YWCA Toronto Elm Centre was proud to host the launch party for Tara’s new collection of stories on forgiveness in the context of gangs and gun violence, F-You: The Forgiveness Project – Memoirs of Violence and Compassion. Funded by the City of Toronto, the book features a foreword by internationally renowned hip hop artist Kardinal Offishall.

Tara is already hard at work assembling her next collection of stories on forgiveness, this time coalescing around the theme of grief. This theme was inspired by her relationships with staff and tenants at YWCA Toronto Elm Centre. “At Elm Centre, I have so many opportunities to have conversations with other women, and these conversations have inspired my work with the F-You Project,” Tara says. In tenant discussions, grief kept coming up as one of the catalysts for struggles with addiction and mental health. Eventually, Tara decided it was worthy of exploration through its own F-You speaker series (already underway) and a new book, which is set for release in August 2014.

If you’d like to participate in the F-You Project as a speaker or writer, please contact Tara at tara@thefyouproject.com.

At the YWCA Toronto Elm Centre in downtown Toronto, Tara Muldoon found not just a home, but a community. Learn more about renting at apartment at YWCA Toronto Elm Centre.