Eleven year old Zachary Mullin learned some important life lessons while completing a recent school project.

While conducting research for a Heritage Fair project, Mullin had the opportunity to meet both Chief Robert Joseph and Robbie Waisman, a Holocaust survivor. He found both their characters and approach to reconciliation particularly inspiring.

“Chief Robert was a really warm, inspirational character. I asked him if there was anything that I could do to get involved with Reconciliation Canada,” says Mullin. “He said the best things I could do were to volunteer and spread awareness.”

Mullin took the advice to heart, and attended  Reconciliation Canada event as an Outreach Volunteer over the summer.

“I think the biggest thing that I learned from doing this project is that it doesn’t matter how many things you go through in life, you can still be a great person. Chief Robert Joseph was really mistreated [while in the residential school system],” he says. “It shows that it doesn’t matter what your background is or who you are, you can still be a great person.”

Mullin’s project taught him a great deal about the importance of sharing stories and experiences for reconciliation. “Reconciliation means to me you have to recognise and listen to the survivors of events and hear their stories,” he says. “You need to spread awareness and make sure that everyone knows about it. Then you need to fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Learning about Reconciliation Canada, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have definitely changed the way I think every day,” he says. “It’s so important that we all care for each other. Just doing this project has amplified that feeling by like, times ten.”

Although Mullin has completed his project – and earned an excellent grade – his work with reconciliation is far from finished.

“I plan to keep on volunteering and spreading awareness because I think that it’s really important for people my age to learn about things like [reconciliation].” He says. “We are the next generation and it’s really up to us.”

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