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Indigenous Trauma & Resiliency (ITR) Leadership Scholars Program

Generously funded by the Fu Hui Education Foundation, the Indigenous Trauma & Resiliency (ITR) Leadership Scholars Program aims to nurture the leadership skills of Indigenous social workers in order to strengthen their ability to realize sustained change.

The ITR Leadership Scholars Program provides students and recent graduates of FIFSW’s Indigenous Trauma & Resiliency field of study with the opportunity to receive one-on-one leadership training from skilled professionals across a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. This mentorship program aims to build the leadership potential and acumen of emerging social workers so that they may effectively apply their trauma-informed and anti-oppression training to institutional, community and civic settings — including organizations that lack understanding of Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing.

Program benefits

Students and recent graduates who elect to participate in this program will be paired with a mentor, who can share their experience and knowledge and provide skills training in areas such as finance and budgeting, fundraising, grant writing, and communications. Participants will have the opportunity to discover new strengths, gain access to new professional and social networks, develop new skills, and re-imagine themselves in a leadership role.

Participating students will receive a one-time award ranging between $1,250 and $2,500 to register for one or more professional development opportunities. For recent graduates, this financial support will be disbursed in the form of bursaries/scholarships towards tuition for course(s) at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.


To be eligible for the program, applicants must:

  • Identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit or other Indigenous origins from across Turtle Island)
  • Be registered full-time in the MSW Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency graduate degree program at the time of application — OR  — have graduated from the MSW-ITR program no more than 10 years ago at the time of application. (Graduates must commit to enrolling in and completing an eligible course offered by the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies with a start date within six months of the application deadline for the Leadership Scholars Program. Graduates should also indicate the course(s) they intend to enroll in at the time of their application. Successful applicants who are graduates of the MSW-ITR will be notified in writing at which point, they must enrol in an eligible SCS course offering of their choosing, the cost for which will be wholly or partially covered via a student award of up to $1,250.)
  • Be compliant with all applicable departmental approval processes as well as U of T Safety Abroad travel requirements if travelling outside of Canada (including to the U.S.A.). Requirements must be met for all travel regardless of receiving this student award.
  • Have not previously participated in the Leadership Scholars Program, nor the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Student Leadership Program.

Program dates & deadlines

Deadline for the applications: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Notification: Given the rolling deadline for the applications, successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible (approximately 2-3 weeks) following receipt of their submission. Successful applicants will also receive information regarding the terms and conditions of the student award.

Program dates: Mentors and mentees will meet for a proposed period of up to 1 year from the start date of their mentorship engagement upon being matched. Mentors and mentees may elect to extend their involvement with each other beyond the 1 year term at their own discretion.

Deferrals: Any questions regarding a potential deferral should be directed to:

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via email to as a single PDF package that includes:

Reference letters

Though it is not a mandatory component of this application process, applicants are invited and encouraged to provide a reference letter from an FIFSW faculty member or administrative staff, the MSW-ITR field of study coordinator, other academic leaders, their current employer, or other individuals in a supervisory capacity who can attest to their leadership development goals or leadership potential.

Please note that reference letters should focus on evidence of the applicant’s leadership development to date and/or their readiness to pursue further leadership opportunities. The referrer should also provide a short description of the relationship, if any, with the applicant.

The applicant must ask for the reference letters to be emailed directly from the referrer to the Student Award administrator by the deadline, with the subject title “Leadership Scholars Program and Student Awards 2022 Reference Letter “Referrer Last Name, Referrer First Name” – “Applicant Last Name, Applicant First Name”.

Join us as a mentor

Mentors who volunteer to participate in this program will help motivate and empower Indigenous leaders of tomorrow. The ITR Leadership Scholars Program also provides mentors with opportunities to engage and network with dynamic students. Select mentors may be invited to give a public talk to all second year MSW students, with an option to include those from other Faculties where there is shared interest.

FIFSW welcomes those interested in becoming a mentor in the ITR Leadership Scholars Program to reach out to our Student Engagement Ambassador Mikayla Kendrick ( or our Office of Advancement (

To participate in this program as a mentor, one must:

  • Be available to meet with mentees between 4-6 times over the course of 12 months (virtually, over the phone or in person depending on the location/preferences of the pairing)
  • Be able to take on one to two mentees in a coaching/mentoring capacity
  • Have leadership or management experience in an area/field related to (but not limited to):
    • Business Development, Program Development, Fundraising and Grant/Program Management
    • Human Resources, People & Culture, Talent Management, Change Management
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility
    • Government Relations, Stakeholder Relations
    • Finance, Accounting, Budgeting
    • Entrepreneurship, Private Practice, Interdisciplinary work
  • Have a demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations with a high degree of cultural competency and the desire to embody respect and appreciation for Indigenous Rights and the values of the MSW-ITR program and its philosophy.
  • Have past experience as a manager, mentor, or coach: ability to pose thoughtful/probing questions, ability to point mentee to other learning resources, clear communication, good listening skills to unpack areas of growth and development needed for the mentee
  • Desire to not only offer vital coaching advice as a mentor, but a reciprocal desire to learn through taking on the role of mentor
  • Other Criteria (Optional)
    • Public speaking skills should the mentor wish to deliver a talk to the entire MSW-ITR class at some stage of their involvement or participate in a panel discussion

Mentor/Mentee Relationship Agreement


For more information, please contact:

Mikayla Kendrick
Student Engagement Ambassador